The social network has just started public testing for Hello, an Android-only app that can identify unknown number of both outgoing and incoming calls by matching them to Facebook profiles.
People are sharing an awful lot of information about themselves on Facebook, and with the help of Hello, some of that information will make its way to Hello, the caller ID app that tells on you. The new Android-only app (since iOS doesn’t allow apps to mess with phone calls) has some extra functionality besides displaying contextual data about the person who’s calling you. It can warn you if a certain number is spam, based on the reports of other people.
Xiaomi’s integrated caller ID could also prevent people from answering spammy phone calls, and Google has displayed names and profile pictures for quite a while now, provided that the name was bound to a G+ page, so it’s great to see that Facebook is jumping on this bandwagon, as well.
Assuming that people calling you have their phone number in their Facebook profile, and that their privacy settings don’t block others from seeing their info, you’ll get to see their name, their profile picture and even their city, employer, website, etc. More than that, Hello can remind you of any significant events the person at the other end of the phone call is celebrating.
Andrea Vaccari, Hello Product Manager, explained that “More than 1 billion phone calls are made in the US ever day,” and the main problem is that the “the experience of the phone call hasn’t evolved in a long time.” In order to change that, Facebook opened up public testing in the US, Brazil and Nigeria. What do these three countries have in common? Not much, besides being on the 3rd, 5th and 7th place, respectively, in the list of the most populous countries in the world.
“Anyone with your number can ring you day or night and interrupt you,” added Vaccari. “Calling is really big. It’s core to how people connect with each other, including family and close friends, but also businesses and colleagues.”
Supposing that the public tests go out well (and I really can’t imagine why they wouldn’t), more countries will be added to the list in the near future, so stay tuned for that! Also, there’s still time to hide your details or change your privacy settings.