Facebook launched Hello, a new app that acts as a caller ID instantly matching phone numbers of incoming and outgoing calls to Facebook profiles to show users details about who they are talking to and also blocks calls from commonly blocked numbers.
Currently, Hello is being rolled out for public testing the U.S., Brazil and Nigeria. However, the app is available only to Android users as iOS won’t allow apps interact with phone calls.
Besides consolidating with Facebook info, Hello also integrates with the networking company's Messenger app. That allows Hello users to send text messages and make free, one-tap calls with Facebook's mobile Messenger app.
In addition to functioning as a visual caller ID, Hello allows users to open Facebook profiles and pages with a single tap and search for Facebook contacts and places without having to leave the app. Hello users will only be able to see information that other Facebook users have already shared with them.
The new app is built for the thousands of mobile phone calls made on a day to day basis that gives little information to people as to who’s calling them, according to a blog post by Facebook Product Manager Andrea Vaccari.
Even before answering a call, users who have installed Hello in their android phone can see Facebook-shared information about a caller such as name, location of the caller and number of mutual friends, as well as birthday details pulled from Facebook, as long as Hello found a suitable match on the site. As far as searching for businesses goes, the in-app search feature not only allows users find phone numbers, but also lets them to find hours, call for directions or make hotel reservations without leaving the app.
In addition to letting users block unwanted calls, Hello also allows users to see how many people have blocked a number, and can then decide whether to answer, reject, or block the call. Blocked calls go straight to voicemail.
This is yet another move by the Menlo Park, California-based company to connect its platform to the core of the Android operating system, after its Home launcher failed to successfully take off in 2013.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg described the social networking site as growing family of apps that is focussed at enabling a new wave of expression for users worldwide.
Until December, Facebook had nearly 890 million daily active users, including 745 million daily active users on mobile phones. On a monthly basis, its latest figures show it has around 1.4 billion monthly active users and 1.2 billion monthly mobile active users.