Google suspends upcoming RCS ads on Messages app in India

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Google has suspended the feature offered to businesses using Rich Communication Services (RCS) to serve ads in India through its Messages app – following an uproar among users for receiving spam. Although RCS is designed as an upgrade over the existing short message service (SMS) by offering rich media and interactivity, a list of businesses nationwide abused the new messaging experience by starting to give a large number of ads to users. .

In a statement to Gadgets 360, a Google spokesperson said the company decided to disable the feature allowing businesses to serve ads through RCS on Google Messages following a violation of its policies.

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“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 user experience.”

Google has stopped serving ads through RCS messaging since last week following the update. However, there is no clarity on how long the current restriction will last for businesses, as it appears to be a temporary measure in response to user complaints and aimed at making systems more robust to limit instances of ad abuse in the future.

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The problem of ad growth on Google Messages in India was brought to light earlier this month.

Affected users had taken to Twitter and other social media platforms to report issues with the growing number of ads on Google Messages over the past few months. As given notice by Ishan Agarwal, the promotional content annoyed the users, especially because it came on the app which comes pre-installed and is the default on most Android phones these days.

Some users have even completely disabled the RCS experience on Google Messages to get rid of pesky ads.

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Much of the promotional content included personal loan ads aired by banks and financial institutions, including Kotak Mahindra Bank and Bajaj Finserv. Some of the advertisements, however, were served by small lending apps.

The ads appearing on the Google Messages app were from “Verified Business” accounts. The content could therefore be considered regular communication by some users.

It’s important to note that while businesses are no longer able to serve ads on Google Messages, business customers can still use RCS to communicate with their customers on the app.


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