Facebook has officially launched ‘Hello’, another oddly vague name for the new Android dialer, which is available on the Google Play App Store for free starting today.
Hello has a few new features to make it more than the typical dialer application on Android, including harnessing Facebook’s large social network to search for people and businesses.
The dialer taps into Facebook’s database when making a call, pulling up information stored on the number like photo, biography and other relevant information. After the call is finished, Facebook will show website and email addresses, for follow up messages.
Instead of taking up minutes on the phone, Facebook pushes most phone calls over VoIP, similar to Skype, Viber and WhatsApp. That should save some money if the user is normally on WiFi, although LTE costs can make the call more expensive in some cases.
Finding information on a restaurant or business establishment has never been easier, as long as they have a page and information added. Users can type of a few words, and Facebook will automatically start searching for the most relevant place based on location and keywords.
It has been designed to fit with Google’s Material Design UI, but with the blue and white color scheme it is distinctly Facebook esque. The social network has no plans to monetize the service, hoping first that people actually download and user the dialer.
Dialers have not made a lot of headway on Android, with Google’s default dialer being enough for most. That said, apps like Viber, Skype and LINE all show that VoIP is popular, and if Facebook can promote that feature it might find a few million users.
Facebook is still coming off a hefty beatdown with Home, its own skin suite featuring a range of Facebook applications with an aesthetic to match. It did not managed to reach anywhere near its potential, but the new move to launch singular experiences might be the second coming of Home—this time coming piece by piece.