Google Voice's Phone Spam feature allows users to tag a phone call as spam, blocking the caller's number from contacting the user's phone or phones. Google Voice, rolled out as a preview on March 11, offers telephony features such as voice mail transcription and GOOG-411 integration.
announced March 20 that Google
Voice, its new phone-based application,
has the ability to block phone
By tagging a phone call as spam, users effectively block the caller's number
from ringing their various phones or leaving e-mails. However, the marked calls
will end up in a spam folder, which can be manually filtered at a later
Google Voice, released as a preview on March 11, allows a user to condense
his or her various phone numbers into a single one, and provides other services
such as automated voice mail transcription and GOOG-411 integration.
Google Voice is an updated version of GrandCentral, which Google
acquired in July 2007.
The ability to block phone spam is an updated carryover from GrandCentral,
with some added muscle provided by Google's ability to create databases.
"One of the lesser known features of the Phone Spam filter is that we
also collect numbers from reported (and confirmed) Phone spammers to block them
for the benefit of all our users," Vincent Paquet, a Google Voice product
manager, wrote on the official Google Voice Blog. "These are not
individual pranksters reported by individual users, but automated dialers that
call thousands of numbers every day."
Paquet went on to claim that the Phone Spam is "blocking tens of
thousands of calls on a daily basis, and that number is growing daily."
Despite this privacy feature integrated into Google Voice, Google
has attracted the ire of privacy advocates by announcing new interest-based
a brand of "behavioral targeting" that utilizes
users' previous searches and page views to deliver targeted ads.
Other companies, such as Yahoo, have their own behavioral-targeting
advertising models. However, Google seems to have attracted more controversy,
perhaps because of its position as the No. 1 search engine; Google argues that
it gives customers sufficient granular control over their privacy preferences.