What is Verified SMS?

Have you ever gotten an SMS text message and wondered if it was actually from that sender or if it was spam or phishing? This is a dilemma that probably all of us face or will soon. And the number of messages sent is only continuing to grow. Juniper Research expects that 2.7 trillion automated SMS messages will be sent in 2022. Thankfully, Google has developed a way to verify the identity of SMS senders in order to reduce fraud and spam.

With Google Verified SMS, instead of just seeing a random phone number or name appear as the sender of the text, a company can have their business info show up, which has been verified by Google. This will appear for all Android users in enabled countries. To put it in perspective, Android accounts for 74% of smartphone users globally [source]. No separate app is needed for the end-user recipient; this will work natively in the Android Messages app.

So how does this actually compare? Here’s an example of what it looks like normally when receiving a text message from a business and how it appears when using Verified SMS.

Source: Google

What changes with Google Verified SMS

There are five main components that are added with Verified SMS:

  1. Verified sender badge - a badge representing a verified sender is included in the top right corner and in the bottom right part of the business logo. This shows that the sender has been verified as the authentic business.
  2. Business name - This is listed next to the Sender ID phone number. Rather than being a number or Sender ID that you don’t recognize, now the verified business name is listed next to it. Also, the business name is listed under each message next to the timestamp.
  3. Logo - the logo of the business is displayed in the top middle area next to a verified sender badge. Also, the logo is shown next to each message sent rather than a generic icon being presented.
  4. Business description - It’s possible to add a description about the business or about the purpose of messages that are sent from that specific sender. This will be displayed in the top middle area underneath the logo.
  5. Links previews - If a web URL link is sent as part of the message, the link preview will be enabled by default.

Security Overview of Verified SMS

The communications between Google and the business that sends the messages are secure. Message content is never shared with Google because a one-way hashing mechanism is used on message content that makes messages unreadable. Public key updates, public key retrievals, hash storage, and hash comparisons are encrypted between the sender and Google and between Google and the message recipients’ devices. At a high level, there are four steps in this security process:

  1. A user message is sent and that user receives a new message from a business that has set up Google Verified SMS.
  2. Google compares the message hash with the one it has from the business.
  3. Google confirms that the message was indeed sent by the business.
  4. The user’s device then displays the message with a verification badge and the other Verified SMS components mentioned above.

Additionally, if a specific user does not want to use Verified SMS for their messages with organizations, the user can turn off the Verified SMS feature. This is done by going to the Messages app, tapping the three dots, clicking Settings, tapping Verified SMS, and then toggling it off.

Interested in learning more about Google Verified SMS or how we can enable it for your phone number? Reach out to us and one of our experts can assist you.