Google Voice has got to be one of the company's weirdest services. It's been around forever, and has some seriously devoted users, yet it feels like the sort of product that's constantly on the chopping block, threatening to disappear into oblivion at Google's whim. A large part of that has to do with just how much of an afterthought Voice always feels, and while we occasionally see it pick up a new ability or two, it's nothing short of maddening watching Google's Phone app get feature after feature that pass Voice by. Thankfully, Google's finally playing a bit of catch-up, bringing Voice the ability to alert you about spam calls.
If you struggle to remember a time when Phone didn't warn you about calls from numbers associated with spam, we can't exactly blame you, as the app's offered this since the middle of 2016, predating even the original Pixel phones. While Google should be nothing short of embarrassed that it's taken so very, very long to bring the same functionality to Voice, with this app we've learned by now to take what we can get.
Google says it's using the same techniques for Voice that it's been employing for Phone spam call identification, so we're not expecting to see any big change in false positives/negatives — and for what it's worth, the existing system has worked very well. But on the off chance that misfires, users can always manually designate a number as not being spam, and Voice will remember that preference.
A “filter spam” option in Voice settings allows you to send these calls straight to voicemail, and even with that turned off, Google will display “Suspected spam caller”to alert you when receiving calls from suspicious numbers. Availability officially gets started today and should hit all Voice users by mid-January, but we're already seeing the spam messages in our Voice call logs going back a couple weeks now.