As if you needed another reason to lust after the Nexus 5 and/or Android 4.4, Google just announced a huge new feature for the default Phone app in KitKat. The new version of the dialer/contacts app will match incoming numbers against Google's various databases to provide an automatic caller ID for businesses using Google Places, as we've already seen. But starting next year, this feature will be applied to people as well.

dialer-marketing-screenshots-landing_framed dialer-marketing-screenshots-search-business_framed

The KitKat dialer will integrate with users of Google Apps for business, matching incoming numbers against contacts and employees (if their phone numbers are shared) in the Apps database. That could be a huge plus for business users who spend more time on their phone than off - it will certainly mean they'll have to manually enter numbers much less frequently. The listings will also work in reverse: you can search for Google Apps contacts or nearby businesses right from the dialer and see relevant results, which you can call with a single tap.

But the most exciting addition to the Phone app is yet to come. According to Google's Plus post, personal Google accounts will be integrated into the new caller ID system starting early next year. If you use an Android 4.4 phone and an incoming caller has verified his or her phone number on their Google Account (and allowed the discovery feature), their name and profile photo will show up on your phone. Again, I'd like to stress that this feature can be disabled in your Google Account settings page.

There have been several apps that have tried to set up this sort of system one user at a time, but with Google's massive database of Gmail and Google+ users (many of whom use their phones as a backup verification device), this could easily be the largest caller ID system on the planet. The yellow/white pages feature is just icing on the cake. Unfortunately, the Google+ post announcing these features heavily implies that they're going to stay exclusive to Android 4.4 and higher.

Source: Android Google+

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • chris125

    And one more reason why Verizon and their crap city id let's charge for caller id service should go by the wayside. Good move google

    • Cory Wilson

      At&t had that stuff too. I liked it... Until a week went by and every time I got a call I was reminded my trial was up and I had to pay $2.99 a month if I wanted to keep it. Thank God for androids disable app feature

    • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

      Looks like Google shares my enthusiasm for sticking it to Verizon.

  • Alex Coldstone Simon

    "their name and profile photo will SHOE up on your phone." ha. shoe.

    • Jeremiah Rice

      That feature is coming in 4.5, Lemondrop.

      • …..

        wouldn't it be lemonhead

        • http://reddit.com/ yo2boy


          • Crispin Swickard


          • Mike Schreiner

            licorice whip gonna whip your ass

        • wolfkabal

          lemon meringue?

        • Cody Curry

          Google would never use a copyrighted...

          Oh, nevermind.

        • gierso


        • John O’Connor

          laffy taffy
          (anything) lemon?

      • Alex Coldstone Simon
      • Andrew

        Lemon = bad. (i.e. lemon car) Hopefully Google has the foresight to avoid that name.

  • Alex

    Good stuff. This should be incredibly useful

  • Booyabobby

    Google should partner with http://800notes.com and have the dialer tell us if the call is known for robocalls or telemarketers.

    • Jeremiah Rice

      I like it. Surely this would make it easy for Google to at least set up their own list of crappy callers.

    • AndrewNeo

      I think this shouldn't be too hard to accomplish with a seperate app and notifications or something.

    • Simon Belmont

      Oh my gosh, THIS! I Google spam call / text numbers all the time and it would be awesome if this was integrated.

      Please, Google. Do this!

    • Jake

      They already do this with google voice. Global block list, I never get spam calls or text and that's the only number I use

  • Danny Holyoake

    I wonder if this will be available in the UK as well.

    • http://www.bordersweather.co.uk/ Andy J

      I initially thought - it must be - why wouldn't it....
      Then I clicked the link in the Google+ post to see "how I would appear" - but my Google account doesn't seem to have any options for turning my callerid on or off - the only option I have is to allow people to find me by phone number.

      EDIT: One day... Google will appreciate there is life outside the US.... One day - they might even see fit to fix the annoying Android Device Manager bug and allow it to work with those of us still rocking @googlemail addresses!!!!!

      • eden

        Thats the only option that should be there. Caller id is set in android 4.4. phone app > settings > caller id by google.
        The settings on google.com/settings/phone only deal with how your number is discovered. Theres no reason it shouldnt work in the UK or any other country.

        googlemail.com and gmail.com should be interchangeable now, your account should work if you use @gmail.com

  • dhruva

    i thought google might be transferring the dialer app to the play store?

    • Thomas F

      that would be great, but I don't think it's up there yet

  • Jays2Kings

    Question: Is the the Nexus 5's dialer part of AOSP, as in light theme and google contact searching, is it just now light theme, or is it the pre 4.4 dailer?

    • Grahaman27

      Nope. Most good things in android are not part of aosp.

    • Casey Artner

      I think as a general rule, if an app connects to Google's servers it doesn't make it to AOSP.

      • TheLastAngel

        As a general rule, yes. But the the AOSP browser can do do sync with chrome bookmarks, so there is hope.

  • kamiller42

    I welcome our data overlords.

  • woj_tek

    yeah... because who cares about privacy, let's get excited!

    • Régis Knechtel

      You can disable it if you want privacy. It's in the article, please read it.

      • Detonation

        But is it enabled by default? A lot of people might not know. This should be an opt in, not an opt out.

        • Régis Knechtel

          Google will probably leave a message before activating the service, like they do to services like location history. They don't want to be sued by 1 billion uses, lol

          • woj_tek

            given past google actions I wouldn't be surprised if they do...

          • Régis Knechtel

            It's against the law to use private data without permission on most countries. So don't worry, Google will not (and cannot) do it without asking first.

          • dean

            your data in g+ belongs to them

          • Markus S.

            How are they going to ask the caller if he's OK with sending his number to Google?

          • NoonianAtall

            google.com/settings/phone It's opt-out, not opt-in.

          • Amer Khaznadar

            Which past actions? (I'm honestly interested).

          • jonathan3579

            He's full of shit. Don't expect a logical answer. (My money is he won't reply at all.)

          • Reyes Cedeño

            In fact when you use Hangouts Google ask you if you want share your phone number. Check this https://db.tt/QSztakCb

        • soap

          my guess is when it launches it will ask everyone, like when yous tart the new hangouts app for the first time.

      • woj_tek

        do you see subtle difference between opt-in and opt-out? and google using the latter by default?

        • Grimmjow

          most people don't even have a phone # associated with their Google Account so setting your phone # and verifying is something that is a very active effort from the user.

          • woj_tek

            yeah... and constant nagging from google (esp when you sign in) to do so can be completely ignored... also - any stats regarding 'most people'? [citation needed] or you simply pull it out of your... hat...

          • Grimmjow

            Gmail nags for recovery options (atleast as far as i have seen). They store phone numbers separately for different things. If you go to https://security.google.com/settings/security?ref=home, there are phone # for recovery and notifications. The one which would enable caller id is here https://www.google.com/settings/phone

          • woj_tek

            failr enough, however I've just noticed that "Help people who have your phone number find you on Google services and connect with you." was selected by default... bleh...

          • woj_tek

            ok, buthurt! notification phone number and recovery phone number are the same - I just changed one (because obviously you can't remove one from google, sic!) and guess what - both changed... THIS IS NOT RIGHT!

            luckily I have less and less to do with google everyday...

      • Markus S.

        No, you can disable that your info will be shown but a caller cannot disable that his/her number will be send to Google in the first place.

    • jonathan3579

      Please go somewhere else with that. I, for one, look forward to a Caller ID that I don't have to pay for.

      • woj_tek

        glad to know that google-hippie-fanboys claim their interwebz =,=

        • jonathan3579

          You're just another one of the many dicks on the internet.

          • woj_tek

            aww, name calling - how noble of you...

          • jonathan3579

            Don't you have a tinfoil hat to tend after? Don't worry, I'll wait.

    • FrillArtist

      You will get drowned by the Google sheep here.

  • BrianLipp

    say, uh, google, why dont you release that there dialer app to the Play Store?

    • CoreRooted

      The dialer app will likely never be in the play store. Have any of the past dialers from AOSP ever been in the Play Store? No. They are integrated into the system. This one more so than ever before.

      • BrianLipp

        Um, if you havent noticed, Google is one by one breaking all of their apps out of the System and putting them on the Play Store. They did it with music, keeping the old version in AOSP and then putting the new one on the Play Store as Play Music. Theres no reason they couldnt keep the 4.3 dialer is AOSP and then put this one on the Play Store, especially since its way more integrated into Google services, like search and ads.

      • enoch861

        It could change.
        Remember Calendar? Remember the ASOP Keyboard? Remember Hangouts (although to be fair Hangouts came to the PlayStore first but it ended replacing the Messaging app in 4.4)?
        Looks like all the apps in Android are slowly moving to the Play Store. So I wouldn't put it out of the question.

  • asf

    No doubt then, turn discovery off.

  • TheLastAngel

    My girlfriend had her profile pic show up on her bosses phone, even though she never circled or in any way interacted with him on G+.
    So be aware of the consequences and suit up for your profile pic.
    I turned my G+ account off after that incident.

    • royston

      It says personal accounts isn't till 2014...

      • TheLastAngel

        I need to clarify. The photo showed up as contact picture.

        • Benjamen Meiers

          I think she may be hiding something from you...

        • ssj4Gogeta

          Please see my explanation below. If you have someone in your contacts, the app will automatically pull their publicly available information from their G+ profile (which includes their profile pic).

          • TheLastAngel

            That gets on ny nerves as well. I have painstakingly added nice pics to all my contacts and if they have a profile google just overrides my choice and shitty party pics show up in my contacts.

            High res profile pics still don't sync for apps accounts btw. Drives me mad. Had to add them all again for the n5.

        • Simon Belmont

          He must've had her Gmail address. You get the profile picture if you store someone's Gmail address that has one.

          I mean that's the only thing that I can think of. My two cents.

    • ssj4Gogeta

      The profile pic is public and can be seen by anyone.

      If a person has you in their contacts or circles, your G+ profile pic will show up. That is regardless of whether you follow them or not. It's supposed to be public.

    • Guest

      That's easy - you can put any pic from the internet (that includes Google+ and Facebook profiles) for a contact picture on Androids..

      Her boss probably just googled her.

      • jonathan3579

        Or her boss Scroogled her. ;)

        Finally, a good use for that word. Lol

    • Dan

      Her profile pic. Her PUBLIC profile pic. The one that's visible to anyone who knows her gmail address. Big, fat DUH.

      • FrillArtist

        He's just saying to be aware of the feature. SHEESH!

  • Adam Truelove

    So will the phone app ever be moved to the play store?

  • CapnBoost

    Eh, I'm turning it off. I don't mind people who know my identity having my phone number, but I don't want anyone who dials my phone number getting linked to my identity. It's a shame we can't have more granular control over this.

    • Xyrax

      What granular control do you want? They made it clear in the article that you can turn it off. You even stated that you will. What more control do you want?

      • CapnBoost

        I use social networks to keep in touch with people I know in real life. I don't mind those people having access to the combination of my phone number and identity. If I could limit this function to the friends circle and family circle in google+ it would be fantastic.

      • NoonianAtall

        How about Google making it opt-in instead of opt-out?

  • FrillArtist

    Scary. I don't want my name just showing up on people's phones when they call me.

    • Marcus

      Eh? Other way around is it not? Your name shows up if you call them.

    • Régis Knechtel

      I suggest you to uncheck the box "allow Google to share your phone number" (or something like this) when the service starts working. Problem solved :)

      • FrillArtist

        I hope it's available in the setting. It's a nice feature to have but not one that piques me.

  • Bronislav Shtrom

    How exactly do I disable this? The linked page says no phone numbers associated, but I obviously have an Android phone.

  • jimv1983

    I was playing with a Nexus 5 in a Sprint store today(mine doesn't come until Monday) and I couldn't find where I could choose to show/hide my own number when calling out. On my current phone(Galaxy S II) I can open the phone app and go to Menu > Call Settings > Additional Settings > Caller ID and I got the choices of "Network Default", "Hide Number" and "Show Number". I remember this being in stock Android in Gingerbread but haven't had a Nexus phone since the Nexus One. Did Google remove this setting from stock Android?

  • Mannik

    Alright now... how do I kill it?