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Google Messages may soon prevent display during screen sharing

Google Messages is testing a new security feature that blocks users from accessing the app when it detects screen sharing. This is to prevent scammers from snooping on private conversations and security codes. While this feature is meant to protect users, there are concerns that it may also prevent legitimate use cases.

Scammers often use screen sharing apps to trick users into revealing their personal information. For instance, they might pose as customer support representatives and ask users to share their screens under the guise of providing assistance. Once they gain access to the user’s screen, they can steal sensitive information such as passwords, credit card numbers, or two-step verification codes.

To combat such scams, Google is experimenting with a new feature in Google Messages. When screen sharing is detected, the app is blocked from being displayed. This way, users won’t accidentally expose their private information to scammers. However, some individuals worry that this feature may hinder legitimate screen sharing scenarios. For example, if a user wants to share their screen with a friend or colleague, they may be barred from accessing Google Messages.

In the current rollout, which seems to be limited to a small number of users, a pop-up message appears when attempting to share the screen while Google Messages is open. The pop-up states, “You’re sharing your screen with someone. If you don’t know this person, stop sharing immediately. Google has hidden your sensitive content for security.” Although the app continues to function in the background and notifications continue to come in, the rest of the app is blacked out, and the pop-up cannot be dismissed as long as screen sharing is active.

However, it appears that the feature’s implementation has not been extensively tested in all scenarios yet. It has been noted that even while screen sharing, users can still view Messages notifications and read the messages by tapping on the notifications. This undermines the purpose of the feature.

As someone who has used screen sharing to troubleshoot on a relative’s phone in the past, I understand that this feature can be restrictive. However, I appreciate Google’s efforts to protect users from scammers and the potential harm they can cause by gaining access to personal messages.

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