Google has been increasingly transitioning new features in Android to a more closed model. Whether you're talking about music playback, search, or even the dialer, Google's updated apps have features not included in the Android Open Source Project. The developers of OmniROM are looking to make the handy features of the new Google Dialer available without the proprietary bits, so they're working on an integrated phone number directory without Google.


This feature is currently in development, so you can't download a version of OmniROM that includes it just yet. When it's ready for the public, the new OmniROM dialer will plug into OpenStreetMap to pull in local search results when you enter keywords, just like the new Google Dialer. Google doesn't get any data, and you only need to make your approximate location available. This will probably come as a relief to those with a bad case of Google-phobia.

The new OmniROM dialer will also include the option to use the Google Places API, just for completeness sake. Well, and there are still things Google is better at than any of the more open alternatives. The integrated phone number search will roll out in a future build of OmniROM, but the devs didn't offer any timeline.


Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play.

  • chicken dance

    "you only need to make your approximate location available."

    hate it. kills my battery every second i enable it

    • Zym0tiC

      You do know that can be archived by cell-ID right. I assume you don't have that disabled all day :p

    • jerdog76

      Interesting, considering this feature isn't even live yet.

      • chicken dance

        approximate location have been available for a really long time.

        • squiddy20

          He clearly wasn't talking about approx location. -__-

          • chicken dance

            he clearly misunderstood my post and replied off topic then.

          • squiddy20

            Considering how vague your original post was, I'm not surprised.

      • John

        Even more interesting is that it is live, and you're a fucking moron.

        • squiddy20

          It says right in the article "This feature is currently in development, so you can't download a version of OmniROM that includes it just yet."
          You can read, yes?

    • squiddy20

      You're smart. The approximate location is nothing more than network triangulation, which your phone does anyway. This feature shouldn't drain battery any more than usual, if it were even available yet, which it's not.

      • chicken dance

        enabling "approximate location available" = enabling android's Network Location Provider, which causes NlpcollectorWakelock and NlpWakelock. the feature is available since android 2.3(or earlier?). GOOGLE

        • squiddy20

          I'll just refer you to this: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=48965148&postcount=101 which is from the XDA thread started by the same guy who started the Reddit thread in the first result of your Google search above.

          • chicken dance

            that one post doesn't say much, it just explained about the wakelock, and the guy's "theory".

          • squiddy20

            Didn't you just basically imply above, and in your edited original post, that it was the wakelocks (Nlpcollector and Nlp) that caused the battery drain? Yeah, this guy pretty much debunks that.

      • chicken dance
        • squiddy20

          Then let me correct myself: If you have Network Location already on (as most people do), this feature (the one the article is talking about) won't drain the battery any more than usual, since it's already on and already supplying data to other apps. If you keep it off, you might as well be using a dumphone, like the first comment on that Reddit thread pretty much states. Besides,
          Of course it'll drain a bit more battery compared to when it's off. Or do you think an LED doesn't use any energy when it's on versus when it's off?

          • chicken dance

            and you just proved the whole point of my first post, enabling Network Location drains my battery, and to get the new dialer search function to work, I need to enable it. I hate THAT.
            regarding how much it drains the battery, it's obvious that you never faced the problem before, so shut up.

          • squiddy20

            Except for the fact that I have had it enabled on my Sprint Galaxy Nexus running the current version of CM 11 (still somewhat buggy) and can make it through the day with some battery left. How presumptuous of you to assume I've "never faced this problem before" simply because I realize that this feature will cause *slight* battery drain (I'm talking less than 5% over the course of a day).
            It's not going to drain the battery nearly as much as say, GPS.

  • Justin Foster

    Will the app be available outside of Omni? If not it's also pretty restricted

    • Nathaniel Webb

      Omni is open sourced, so...yeah.

    • jerdog76

      Everything that Omni creates is open source and for the community - so any other project can take and use it for their own as long as they adhere to the open source licensing. We are big fans of copyleft.

      • Justin Foster

        I see what you two are saying. Well, Cyanogenmod is also an open-sourced ROM, but the main features and apps are pretty cumbersome to get on non-Cyanogenmod devices. That's why I asked. I guess I'm hoping it's as easily accessible as apps like Focal, which left CM for the Play Store.

      • Robert Alex Kibler

        Hopefully it's not too hard to get running on stock ROMs, because when I get my N5, I have no intention of flashing custom ROMs. I'll root, but I'm not planning on flashing.

        • Cj

          If you have a N5, you'll have the Google dialer which this is attempting to replicate.
          I assume they may add additional custom tweaks but essentially you will have no need for this is you are running Stock

  • irishtexmex

    I didn't realize that the new integrated search-dialer was exclusive to stock ROM. Dang...

    • Scott

      Not just stock rom... its only the Nexus 5 stock rom...

      • Matt

        I don't think so. When I flashed the factory image on my Nexus 4, business search worked perfectly in the dialer. As a side note, you can use he PA gapps package of the Google Dialer with other ROMs, though it proved to be incompatible with future PA releases (I'm using it on AOKP just fine). http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2397942

        • Cj

          It's not simply an incompatibility with PA it affects all ROMs. When you flash the google dialer, it replaces any custom code added to telephony services as it comes with it's own telephony services. So some implemented features will not work

          For example the OMNI non-intrusive call UI will not work and all custom setting added to the phone settings will disappear. In some cases some features may even force close. I believe that's why there is this move to replace the Google version with this one that's being worked on.

          • Matt

            Ahh I wasn't aware of that, though I know I had a hell of a time trying to figure out how to make it work before the flashable zip (and playing around with TeleServices.apk was a big part of that trial-and-error). I'm not aware of any telephony-related features that have been affected on AOKP, but an open source alternative will certainly be nice for future-proofing.

          • Cj

            Yeah, I can't say for certain that AOKP have any custom features that made any changes there but I have checked the Git repos for
            Slim, CM, OMNI and PA

      • nocode

        Not true...GPE HTC ONE and Galaxy S4 also have it.

    • chenxiaolong

      Just posted this in another article, but the Google Dialer is in some custom CM 11 builds too :) I reversed engineered the code and incorporated it into the open-source dialer so the telephony code would not be overwritten and the CM-specific features, such as call blocking, are retained:



  • John Smith

    I assume that Google is keeping some features close to heart to make it harder for companies like Amazon

  • https://steamcommunity.com/id/m-p-3 m-p{3}

    Great idea, now I've got a lot of work to do and add those phone numbers in my region.

  • sweenish

    I'm always amused by people on Android, but afraid of Google.

    • Lamm

      You shouldn't, google is walking down the path of evil with every new android version, and I'm scared of where this is going.

      • squiddy20

        I'm sure I'm going to regret this, but...
        Care to share any reasons why you think this? Or is just your statement of opinion enough to make it so?

        • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

          It should be obvious

        • Lamm

          My reasons might be a little personal, but google is slowly closing android down into another walled garden. Google+ intagration is the main reason. It started with the nexus devices, at first they where nice, cheap and fast, and running latest android version avaliable, but with one caveat, limited local storage (no microsd slot).

          The google started pushing cloud as the solution to all your problems. Call me paranoid, but I don't like my cell phone uploading thing to gdrive without my consent, and I also like to have lots of storage on my phone because I tend to record a lot of videos from my phone.

          As result I'm stuck with Samsung.

          The came google hangouts, recording all your messages to your google account.

          Then googlemaps got an update closing most of the api.

          Several apps have less and less of their source published.

          Then came google+ integration, now everything requires a google+ account.

          In a near future google will push devices that needs to be alwaya online, and your have to balance that with expensive and limited Carrier data plans...

          And so on...

          It might be just me, but I don't like the direction google is going with android.

          • z0phi3l

            No their not and there is no actual evidence to prove your incorrect opinion

          • CS

            Eric's balls taste delicious?

          • tintin.92

            Some of your other points made sense, but the memory thing is quite off. Before they started pushing everyone to cloud storage, the reason for removing SD card support was so they could have 1 unified memory solution as opposed to the crap on Samsung phones (my SII has internal memory for apps, internal memory for other stuff and SD for other stuff.), Plus developers were dumping their app data in folders along with the personal data of users, which was bound to confuse the average Joe.

          • dudi

            Very true. I find it funny that people like the author write "This will probably come as a relief to those with a bad case of Google-phobia". Anyone without Google-phobia is blind, and if the author thinks that you need to have a "bad case of Google-phobia" to try keep Google out of your dialer, he is also stupid. Google has as much info as the NSA an we don't know what they plan to use it for.

          • Wesley Modderkolk

            "Anyone without Google-phobia is blind,"

            Or they aren't screaming about something just because the media told them to do so.

          • sweenish

            At first, Nexus devices were just as expensive, hard to get, and only available in the US.

        • wq

          I assume he feels that way because he doesnt live in a cave.

        • varun

          There are a number of things that have recently made me squeamish about Google, but probably the thing that's made me most unhappy is that Android is slowly being gutted unless you're willing to use Google.

          We always accepted there were certain things tied to Google - Gmail, Maps, Android Market, etc. - but increasingly things that are necessary for a basic experience are getting swallowed up as well. These are things like the Browser (dead since 4.0), SMS/MMS messaging (4.3), dialer (4.4), home screen (4.4 on N5). Even though I like some of the replacements better (Chrome vs. Browser for instance), I'm less than happy about Hangouts, the new dialer, the home screen, etc.

          Yes, I could replace all of that (and I have in some cases) - that's why I love Android. On the other hand, if it gets to the point I'm replacing literally every stock thing to get to an experience I like, I'm on the wrong OS. And that makes me sad, because the alternatives are even worse: no intents on iOS, no applications on WP, no support for FxOS, no release for Ubuntu Touch, etc.

          TL;DR: the Google-ification of basic parts of the OS is making me unhappy.

    • huh

      Yes, privacy is a joke. Why cant those fools hand over all their data to Google without complaining like the rest of us?

      On a separate note, its high time we repeal the 4th amendment.

      • sweenish

        You're not getting the point. I get the privacy argument, but you're PURPOSEFULLY RUNNING A GOOGLE OS.

  • senor_heisenberg

    I'd rather use Google Maps over Open Street Maps.

    • just passing by

      OSM is a joke comparing to GM.

      • dudi

        that what people without vision like you said about Waze...

      • fsa

        If you live in Asia (and probably elsewhere outside the West), Google Maps is a pathetic joke.

  • Wesley Modderkolk

    So they decide to replace this super evil corporation(who's OS you are using by your own choice) search function with something that is less complete and does the same thing? I'm unsure how this changes anything. Yes, you aren't sending this info to Google anymore, but instead are sending this to someone else. If one guy does something, what makes you so confident that the other doesn't?

    And yes, you can say that they do not keep the personal data, but if you trust their word, why don't you trust Google's word?

    Gotta love the sudden awareness of 'privacy' just because the media told people so.

  • http://pixelsw.im/ Steve Heinrich

    *Google buys OpenStreetMap* ;)