So far, its efforts have been pretty successful
Not a day goes by where we don’t run into spam online. Whether it’s another few pieces of junk mail in your inbox or a comments section laden with offers to make millions of dollars just by clicking a suspicious link. As the web’s predominant company, it’s no surprise Google takes spam and scams seriously. The company just released its annual Webspam Report, summarizing all the efforts it implemented to keep spam away from its search engine.
According to Google, its most effective tool against spam and scams is an AI-based prevention system known as SpamBrain. The service, which launched in 2018, can identify spam-filled sites up to six times as fast as it could in 2021, reducing hacked spam by 70% and gibberish spam found on hosting platforms by 75 percent.
Overall, Google says more than 99% of searches are spam-free. We can’t say the same about phone calls, of course, which is likely why searches for “how to block spam calls” have increased more than 700% in the last five years. Research for SMS phishing and spam-filled group chats also hit all-time highs in the US, with the latter doubling over the last year. Although Google can only do so much to push back against these junk phone calls — especially through Pixel-exclusive features — it’s clear there’s plenty of work to be done still in this area. With any luck, Android 13 will build some additional spam filtering features into OS itself.
Google is also working to fight against scams, including some of the most searched-for campaigns like online dating and shopping scams. The company has reduced scam-filled results by 40% through updates to its algorithm that better detect unhelpful and malicious services while also changing how product reviews are ranked and qualified, which led to a reduction in overall low-quality feedback. It’s even utilized SpamBrain to fight against online harassment, especially regarding name queries where some users may try to target specific people.
Obviously, the fight against spam and scams is never complete. Thankfully, Google is taking it seriously when it comes to online search results.
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