Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) is testing a new app, called Phone, to leverage on the massive database of mobile numbers it has collected from users on the social network. Facebook’s Phone app will apparently work as a Caller ID app and will compete with some popular called ID apps, such as Truecaller, CallApp and Contactive, available smartphone users today. Once it is launched, Facebook’s Phone app would definitely boast the largest database of users phone number in the world – thanks to the massive 1.39 billion registered users of Facebook.
While the company has confirmed the existence of the app, it has so far denied commenting further or providing any details on the functionalities/features of the app. As of now Facebook’s Phone app is available for testing only to a selected few as the screenshot shows.
As of the time of reporting, we don’t have many details about the Phone app, but a source has confirmed that the app is one of many other apps under development. The company is working on multiple apps and concepts simultaneously to keep its users engaged and to offer as many complimentary services as possible by using the users data that is being captured on a regular basis.
The new Phone app also looks more promising as compared to other Caller ID apps. The other apps need smartphone users to save their contact list on a third-party server and to install an additional app on their smartphones all the time. In developing countries like India and Philippines where users keep changing their numbers frequently – especially the prepaid users – keeping the database updated is a daunting task. Besides, the limited regional reach of these apps doesn’t provide a comprehensive solution. Facebook, with 1.1 billion mobile users, could become the largest single-source database for a caller ID solution. Since most of the users stay logged into Facebook via its app or the browser, it’s rather easy for Facebook to identify the name, location and, may be, other details of the callers. Such feature is a real-deal for those who receive a lot of calls from unknown numbers every day.
The Phone app is not limited to Caller ID feature, but it also reduces the dependency of a user on its offline phonebook. Facebook mobile users who are an aggressive consumers of internet and meet many new people each month, the app could be a life-saver as it may popup a profile pic of a caller along with his name and location. This will help the receiver identify the caller easily – if he doesn’t store the number of the person he might have met earlier .
Industry analysts see this app as another way for Facebook to capture more information about a user and increase its engagement with more people beyond its social network. The online social networking giant is already aware of the fact that it’s necessary to know its users’ off-the-internet association and engagement with others in a real world. Two people may not be enjoying similar kind of warmth and connection in the offline world due to numerous reasons. But if Facebook can have the data both of social media life as well as real world, the company would have a unbeatable amount of people data and details. Remember, in the era of internet, acquiring users and personal data is of utmost importance. Facebook knows this well and, is therefore making its moves to conquer information age.