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Google Voice gets rid of SMS voicemail feature because it was getting too much spam

Google is discontinuing its ‘Get voicemail via message’ service for Google Voice after an influx of spam caused important messages to get blocked.

In an email to Google Voice users shared by Brian Krebs on Twitter, Google cited carriers finally taking action against spam calls as a key reason for shutting down its voicemail to SMS service. Certain phone networks have recently begun blocking messages that are clearly automated to curb spam calls but this has come at the cost of some genuinely useful automated messaging services.

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The entire purpose of Google’s ‘Get voicemail via message’ is to automate a message that mimics the voicemail recording you receive. It’s a great tool to boost Google’s accessibility and to make combing through a full voicemail inbox a little less of a daunting task. By blocking automated calls, carriers are preventing users from seeing the messages they want to see along with the ones they don’t.

“We can no longer ensure these messages will be delivered, so unfortunately we are turning down the feature”, explained Google in the email.

The company did admit that Google Voice does receive unsolicited robocalls from time to time meaning that the carriers are technically doing their job by blocking the messages from your SMS inbox but many Google Voice messages are legit. It’s difficult for an automated service to sort between wanted and unwanted calls to filter spam out accurately while still delivering the calls users want in a timely manner.

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Google has already begun gradually removing the feature from its Voice accounts and expects the changes to be complete by August 9.

If you still prefer to get your voicemails in text format, don’t fear. Google’s ‘Get voicemail via email’ feature is still up and running and Google Voice’s own iOS, Android and web apps can also be used to listen to voicemails and scroll through transcripts.

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