There are about a half-dozen countries that have enacted some form of official "do not call" registry and many others that have signed in laws to prevent various types of spammy behavior from running rampant over the telephone system. Unfortunately, little to nothing is done to enforce these laws and the penalties usually aren't steep enough to discourage bad behavior. Google is taking matters into its own hands and giving users a way to fight back. Starting today, a new version of the Phone app is rolling out to Nexus and Android One devices with built-in spam warnings.
The warning feature comes as a part of the phone app's existing Caller ID capability, which already maintains a very thorough directory about various businesses.
Hey you, the guy with the New Jersey accent who keeps offering me a small business loan: I hate you. I hate you with a passion that eclipses any love or loathing that I have felt for anything in the mortal world. I hate you and your army of randomly-dialing robots, I hate you and your legions of foreign switchboard operators trying to sucker Americans into possibly illegal and/or phony loans. The multiple times that I've actually gone through your rigamarole claiming to be Archibald Buttz, the owner of a talking dildo emporium called "Buzzwords," has not kept you from calling me on my private cell phone several times a week.
Cyanogen is on a mission to free you from Google's evil clutches, apparently by delivering you into the clutches of other companies it gets along with better. Rather than integrating Google services with Android, Cyanogen has been investigating other partnerships, and the latest example is Truecaller. This is a caller ID service for Android, and it's going to be available in Cyanogen OS soon.
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.
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.
For a smartphone operating system, Android hasn't always had the best features for, you know... calls. One of the especially annoying omissions has long been caller ID, but Android 4.4 takes a big step toward fixing that. If you get a call from a business that Google knows, it lets you know on KitKat's incoming call screen. Neat.
The WhitePages company announced today that it has acquired Mr. Number, a popular app used for retrieving caller identification and blocking some numbers. According to the press release, WhitePages will add Mr. Number to its own stable of mobile apps, which includes Current Caller ID, their own solution for the same market niche. It's not immediately apparent whether development will continue on Current, Mr. Number, or both, or indeed whether the developers who created Mr. Number have been hired by WhitePages.
Back in May, Liam spent some hands-on time testing out a then-new app called CallApp. Dubbed as a sort of supercharged caller ID, CallApp gives detailed info about who's calling you (or who you're calling), by pulling information from various social networks and the web.
Soon after release, the app was voluntarily pulled from the Play Store. During the app's hiatus from official channels (it was still available through their official site), however, the devs were still working on it. Making it better. Adding new features. Doing other stuff.
The new CallApp is now back in the Play Store, bringing along with it all sorts of new features, like a "reminders" section that displays missed calls, manually-set reminders, and automatically aggregated birthdays.
Android's selection of good incoming Caller ID apps is a bit meager. While a search of the Play Store yields many options, most of them are deficient in one important way or another (or, not free), or flat-out sketchy. One of the more popular ones was actually WhitePages Caller ID - which Current Caller ID replaces, as it's made by the same company.
What makes WhitePage's app special (and better than others), in part, is that it utilizes the company's rather extensive curated directory of phone numbers - over 300 million currently.
Current Caller ID also brings in a social element, pulling data from your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts to provide even more information about the people calling you.
Going above and beyond their promise to save "time and annoyance" when screening, placing, or receiving calls, CallApp recently released their namesake app (a TechCrunch Disrupt 2012 finalist) to Google's Play Store.
CallApp – in what may be the biggest understatement of the week – bills itself as a "super caller ID," increasing call productivity with a set of handy interactive tools and quick informational displays for everyone that calls (or initiates a call with) you. The app pulls information from various services, including Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Foursquare and even your calendar or email, searching for the most relevant and timely info for each caller.