It finally makes sense why Facebook keeps asking people for their number. The technology giant is testing out a new caller id application simply called Hello and it is built by its Messenger team. The application will connect to Facebook so that users can see who’s calling, block unwanted calls and search for people and places.
The application will show users info about who’s calling you, even if they don’t have that number saved in their phones. Users will only see info that people have already shared with you on Facebook, the company mentioned in its blog. The app is available for Android devices and is on the Play Store.
To block a specific caller, users can go to settings and adjust whether you want to automatically blocks calls from commonly blocked numbers. Blocked calls go straight to voicemail and can be reviewed in your recent calls. Users can also search for people and businesses on Facebook and call them with just a tap. Hello also provides information about local businesses and allows people to call them and get directions without leaving the application.
But given Facebook’s history with user privacy, Wired points out that its a good idea to check your settings. Before using Hello users should go to their Facebook Page and dig into the Privacy portion. There, they can adjust who can look you up by your phone number; be it Everyone, Friends of Friends, or just Friends.
With this, Facebook is stepping on the toes of TrueCaller and the amount of information that the service puts out makes us a little uncomfortable. More on that here and here. But on business wise, True Caller’s biggest market is in India accounting for 50% of Truecaller’s 70 million registered user base, and it will be interesting how Facebook’s offering will play out here.