Note: We’ve now learnt that the new pop-up appears even for standard SMS messages. The original article follows:


While RCS makes rich texting between Androids (and hopefully iOS devices soon) easier, it does have its own drawbacks. There’s no shortage of spam messages and scammers trying to get you to click on shady links. To tackle this, it appears Google is adding a new pop-up warning in its Messages app when you tap on links sent by RCS users who aren’t in your contacts list.

This warning will hopefully make users rethink their actions before its too late. PiunikaWeb got a first look at this new caution message thanks to a tip from code sleuth AssembleDebug. Here’s a screenshot of the pop-up warning in Google Messages after tapping on a link sent by an unknown number.

google-messages-rcs-warning-when-clicking-on-link

As seen in the screenshot above, clicking on a link in a Google Messages RCS chat from an unknown number will show a pop-up warning titled “Caution: this sender isn’t one of your contacts.” To proceed, you will have to check the box titled “Continue with possible risk” and then tap on “Continue.” If you feel the link is indeed unsafe, simply tap on the “Cancel” button.

Google Messages currently does show a warning when you click on links from unknown numbers. However, it let’s you quickly bypass it by tapping “Continue.” The newer implementation requires you to first confirm the action and then tap “Continue.”

google-messages-warning

While we tested this in RCS chats, it’s possible that it might also appear in standard SMS messages too. The potentially upcoming pop-up warning message was spotted in Google Messages beta version 20240402_01_RCO0. As usual, it was manually enabled with feature flags. Granted that the feature is up and working in the background, it’s possible that we might see it go live for beta testers soon, before hitting the stable app. That said, to bolster security in Messages, Google also recently blocked RCS usage on rooted phones.

To me it seems Google is securing the platform in as many ways it can before RCS goes live to millions of iPhone users, which invariably will result in even more spam links. So it’s a win for everyone.

Dwayne Cubbins
1122 Posts

My fascination with Android phones began the moment I got my hands on one. Since then, I've been on a journey to decode the ever-evolving tech landscape, fueled by a passion for both the "how" and the "why." Since 2018, I've been crafting content that empowers users and demystifies the tech world. From in-depth how-to guides that unlock your phone's potential to breaking news based on original research, I strive to make tech accessible and engaging.

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