Facebook announced another new App last week, bringing “Hello” to Android users with the intention of changing your mobile calls experience.
We’ve not seen a great deal of feedback on the App yet but, if the initial trials are successful, you’ll be hearing a lot more about what Facebook sees as a way of strengthening your bond with them.
Hello might be seen as a venture into the Caller ID market for Facebook. It seeks to challenge the likes of TrueCaller and it offers a number of benefits that avid Facebook users might find of interest.
In summary, Hello integrates with your Facebook account. If someone who is a Facebook user calls you, you’ll be presented with a screen of information about them. They don’t need to be an existing contact in your phone.
Hello displays items of information that the caller has shared on Facebook. For example, if it is the callers birthday you’ll be told this on the incoming call screen. You can then greet them with a cheesy “Happy Birthday” message if you wish…
It also allows you to search for places on Facebook and place calls to them, such as restaurants (again using the example Facebook have given with their launch announcement). If you think about that another way, it operates in a similar way to if you were to conduct a search in your browser, find a restaurant in Google Maps, and then click their phone number to call them.
Why bother then? The big point Facebook is going to be pushing to you is that Hello will increase your ability to make calls for free. That’s because it integrates with Messenger and because that is an internet service, you’ll have the option to place a direct call or use Messenger to make it.
The next obvious question is “Doesn’t WhatsApp, a product Facebook owns, do this anyway?”. Well yes, it does. However, what you don’t get with WhatsApp is level of information integration that you do with Hello because of the foundations it has within the Facebook platform. Hello can deliver you information that only Facebook could.
For example, if you have a friend called “John” in your phone contacts, who is also a Facebook user, Hello will give you a lot more than just the name “John” – it’ll give you anything he has publicly shared on his profile.
If you’re a regular Facebook user there is little doubt that Hello is going to be of interest to you. If for nothing else than its ability to give you free calls to those you converse with regularly, through a platform you know and an App that integrates heavily with it.
There are plenty of settings you can use to determine what you divulge to people through Hello and it supports the blocking of calls too.
You’ll be running off to download it now then? If you’re an Android user, you can. It is available now. If you’re an iPhone or Windows user then you’re going to have to wait.
Facebook Hello is a good first try at call integration with the worlds biggest social media network. Commercially it offers Facebook page owners an opportunity to give yet another way of connecting with potential customers. That alone makes it something any business with a Facebook presence should be looking into – now.
If you want to see more, you can watch the video Facebook has released to accompany the launch: