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The latest Google Messages beta is now rolling out ‘Verified SMS’ which is aimed at protecting you from unwanted spam text messages or potential phishing attempts.

We saw the feature briefly appear earlier this year in version 4.2 of Google Messages but it wasn’t clear how the feature would work with all telephone numbers. However, it appears that the Verified SMS feature is now rolling out in the latest build of Google Messages — with the feature enabled by default (via Android Police). That said, the feature only currently works with businesses that have their number registered with Google.

That means that you’ll only see messages sent from verified businesses. Google is using authenticity codes to verify each SMS received to work out if the message is spam or from a spoofed telephone number. This should protect against any potentially harmful content or phishing attempts.

Verification works by assigning your device a hash code that gets created based upon your phone number, the business phone number, and then the message content. These hash codes are created locally on your device and then forwarded to Google for comparison with the corresponding business code to work out if it is a genuine verified SMS.

The message will show a “verified” icon to prove that the message is trustworthy and from who the sender claims to be. Therefore giving you peace of mind. You can turn this feature off by going into Messages settings if you wish, but that isn’t recommended.

When Verified SMS is on and you receive a message from a business registered with Google, Google translates the message you receive into an unreadable authenticity code, all on your device. Then, Google compares this code with unreadable authenticity codes sent to Google by the business. If these codes (also referred to as message hash or message HMAC) match, Google confirms that the message content was sent by the business, and Messages shows you information about the business, such as the business’ logo with a “verified” icon.

It’s worth noting that Google does not get to see your messages but will use your phone number to create these authenticity codes. The new feature is only currently available in a few countries including the US, with reports of it appearing in Poland and India too. That said ‘verified SMS’ are only present on the latest Messages beta v5.3.075 — it’s not clear when the feature will hit stable builds of Messages as yet but it could be very soon.

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