Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Global SPAM filtering

If, like me, you have more interesting ways to spend your time than talking to telemarketers, the “Report Spam” button in Google Voice is probably your best friend.

But wouldn't it be great if the filtering could happen automatically, before unwanted calls even reach your phone, the same way Gmail filters spam before it gets to your inbox?

Thanks to the help of the thousands of Google Voice users who mark calls as spam everyday—and our own spam identification tools—it is now possible to automatically redirect calls, texts, and voicemails from any of the numbers in our database directly into your spam folder.

You can enable this feature on the Calls tab of Google Voice settings by checking the box next to Global SPAM filtering. And if a number ends up incorrectly marked as spam, you can easily unblock it by selecting the message and clicking the “Not Spam” button in your spam folder.

With your continued help marking spammy numbers (and correcting mis-labeled spam), we can continue to refine our filter and prevent annoying unwanted calls from making it to other Google Voice users.

Posted by Alexander Rybak, Software Engineering Intern

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Remember when your legitimate emails were flanked by dozens of grammatically nightmarish blurbs, peddling pills, x-rated services, and Nigerian scams? If you use Gmail, most of that garbage no longer arrives in your inbox, instead making its way to a spam folder, where it's held for a month before ending its journey at the Google graveyard. Now, Mountain View is applying that same concept to your Google Voice calls, flagging unsolicited calls, texts, and voicemails, then booting them to a spam folder. The company's servers use collected data from other users marking similar messages as spam, as well as propriety identification tools, to help ensure that those generic creditor or vacation sweepstakes calls never make it to your phone. And like GMail messages, misdirected calls can be marked as "Not Spam" from within the Spam folder, letting them slip through the fence the next time around. GV users can simply check the box next to "Global Spam filtering" on the Calls tab to activate the feature, or hit up the source link for the full scoop.

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