There was a time when to stay in contact meant either a phone call or a letter. Modern technology appears to be making the phone call largely redundant. However, this is not the case, there are over a billion phone calls made every day in America.
Despite advances in technology the experience of making a phone call can still leave a lot to be desired. Despite numbers being saved in your cell phone they are not always recognized, contacts can be an issue to organize properly and Wi-Fi calling is simply not utilized.
A new approach
Facebook are now ringing out a new app. It is called “Hello” and seeks o place Facebook at the centre of all your communication needs. Most importantly, it allows you to make phone calls via Wi-Fi whenever possible. The app is currently only available for Android based phones and can be downloaded for free from the Google Play store.
The main features
The Android style dialer is removed and replaced with a distinctively more Facebook style one. A caller can be identified from their Facebook details so you will always know who is calling – even if you haven’t entered their contact details. It optimizes search capabilities by using all the information available to Facebook to assist in finding a business number quickly. It is also designed to make it easy to block unwanted calls.
As with Facebook messenger, there is the option to make phone calls via Wi-Fi using Voice over Internet Protocols. It is even possible to message someone back if you have missed a call.
Why this app?
There are many apps on the market which attempt to replace the dialer on an Android phone but none have been particularly successful. This is likely to be because despite the difficulties the existing dialer works and there is no real incentive to download a different app. The secret to getting this kind of app accepted by the majority of consumers appears to be in duplicating some of the phone’s normal role.
Facebook attempted something similar in 2013 with the introduction of “Home”. Unfortunately, this was not a big hit with users and there were less than five million downloads. The new app is designed in blue and white and looks similar in appearance to Skype. There are four main tabs:
- Recent calls
If the person calling has a Facebook profile and allows others to see it, then their face will appear on your screen when they call. This will also show their hometown and whether you have any mutual friends. Once the call has finished it is possible to view additional information such as email addresses or a website, if they have one.
The new app does not block phone numbers in the traditional sense; it simply sends them straight to voice mail. Blocking is possibly with a single tap or by consulting the list of commonly blocked numbers and automatically blocking them.
The new search facility will allow access to business phone numbers and can be automatically targeted to within a set distance of your location. If the business has a Facebook page then you will also be able to see the Facebook average star rating. This kind of service is already offered by Google who appears to have an edge with their database of businesses.
Facebook is launching this app for free with the idea that the world will become a more open and connected place. It is unlikely that this app will appeal to as many users as messenger but it may appeal to some users who value the detail available in respect of current and new contacts. Hello offers a better system for managing these than the current Google offering.
This may just be the start of Facebook’s offering into the world of dialers and could be the first small step to making Facebook central to your daily communication needs.
This is the guest post by Jason Phillips and DirtBike Games 365!