Google will use Gemini to detect scams during calls

For a few years now, carriers have been using lists to alert users of potential spam and scam calls as they come in. These systems are hardly foolproof. So what happens once a user picks up? At the Google I/O 2024 developer conference on Tuesday, Google previewed a feature it believes will alert users to potential scams during the call.

The feature, which will be built into a future version of Android, uses Gemini Nano, the smallest version of Google’s generative AI offering, which can be run entirely on-device. The system effectively listens for “conversation patterns commonly associated with scams” in real time.

Google gives the example of someone pretending to be a “bank representative.” Common scammer tactics like password requests and gift cards will also trigger the system. These are all pretty well understood to be ways of extracting your money from you, but plenty of people in the world are still vulnerable to these sorts of scams. Once set off, it will pop up a notification that the user may be falling prey to unsavory characters.

No specific release date has been set for the feature. Like many of these things, Google is previewing how much Gemini Nano will be able to do down the road sometime. We do know, however, that the feature will be opt-in.

That’s a good thing. While the use of Gemini Nano means the system won’t be automatically uploading to the cloud, the system is still effectively listening to your conversations. It’s the kind of thing that makes the hairs stand up on the back of privacy advocates’ necks.

However, being opt-in may also mean that some of the people who can benefit the most from such a feature might never tick that box.

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Read more about Google I/O 2024 on TechCrunch
Read more about Google I/O 2024 on TechCrunch