Facebook just unveiled “Hello,” a new dialer for Android that connects to your Facebook contacts. It’s essentially a caller ID for Android that’s connected to Facebook, and you can download it from the Google Play store starting today.
It’s yet another move by Facebook to connect its platform to the core of the Android operating system, after its Home launcher failed to take off in 2013.
The app, which was created by Facebook’s messenger team, lets you block unwanted calls, see who’s calling you, and search for people and places. As shown in the photo above, the app pulls information about whoever is calling you directly from their Facebook profile, so you can see where that person works, whether it’s his or her’s birthday, and so on.
You can also manage settings, such as which numbers you’ve blocked, directly from the settings menu on Facebook’s website.
Facebook has been experimenting with ways to integrate its platform more deeply into the Android operating system for years. In 2013, the company launched Facebook Home, a home screen replacement that gives you access to the Facebook platform without having to open the app. Facebook messages, for example, would appear as small circles called Chat Heads on your home screen.
Ultimately, Facebook Home never really caught on. The HTC First, and Android phone that came with Facebook Home preinstalled, was rumoured to be discontinued shortly after its release.
It’s unclear if Facebook’s Hello app will ever take off — while Facebook’s apps such as Slingshot haven’t been massive successes, the idea of tying Facebook data into your contacts list and phone dialer does make some sense. People already link their phone numbers to their Facebook account, so it’s not surprising that Facebook would try to encourage its userbase to make more use of all that data stored in their Facebook profiles.