Google has temporarily discontinued the feature for companies using Rich Communication Services (RCS) to display ads in India through the Messages app – as a result of the uproar among users for spam. Although RCS aims to upgrade the existing Short Message Service (SMS) by offering rich and interactive media, a list of companies in the country have been found abusing the new messaging experience by starting to give a large number of advertisements to users.
In a statement to Gadgets 360, a Google spokesperson said the company decided to disable the feature that allows companies to display ads through RCS on Google Messages as a result of a violation of its policies.
“We are aware that some companies are abusing our anti-spam policies to send promotional messages to users in India,” the spokesperson said, adding, “We are disabling this feature in India while we work with the industry to improve users’ experience.”
Google has stopped ads from circulating through RCS messages since last week as a result of the update. However, there is no clarity on how long the ongoing restriction will last for companies as it appears to be a temporary measure to respond to user complaints and to make systems more robust to curb cases of ad abuse in the future.
The problem of increased ads on Google Messages in India came into the spotlight earlier this month.
Affected users have taken to Twitter and other social media platforms to report issues with the increasing number of ads on Google Messages over the past few months. as such take note By Ishan Agarwal, the promotional content has been annoying to the users especially due to the fact that it comes on the pre-installed app which is the default on most of the Android phones nowadays.
Some users have completely disabled the RCS experience on Google Messages to get rid of the annoying ads.
Much of the promotional content included advertisements for personal loans that were paid out by banks and financial institutions including Kotak Mahindra Bank and Bajaj Finserv. However, some ads were shown by microcredit apps.
The ads appearing on the Google Messages app were coming from Verified Business accounts. Therefore, the content can be considered as a regular communication by some users.
It is important to note that while businesses can no longer display ads on Google Messages, commercial customers can still use RCS to communicate with their customers on the app.