My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Introducing @Facebook Hello App - Brilliant Anonymous Caller ID People and Businesses Finder with @WhatsApp Wi-Fi Calling


Friday, April 24, 2015

Introducing @Facebook Hello App - Brilliant Anonymous Caller ID People and Businesses Finder with @WhatsApp Wi-Fi Calling

Facebook on Wednesday April 22nd 2015 has launched yet another App for the smartphone crowd that borders on the creepy like Poke but may actually be a hit.

I’m of course referring to Facebook Hello, a phone dialer that replaces the one in your Google Android smartphone as stated in the article “Facebook says 'Hello' with new dialer app for Android phones”, published April 22, 2015 by Michelle Meyers, CNET News

This is a mere three (3) weeks after Facebook had launched their Facebook Messenger Website for Desktop computers as noted my Geezam blog article entitled “Now Facebook has a Messenger website for your Desktop”.

Facebook Hello is the latest creation from the  Facebook Creative Labs , the same people who brought you the failed Slingshot app as reported in my blog article entitled “Facebook's Creative Labs Division debuts Slingshot – The Paper Man need Friends Nearby + Firechat + Group Mini-Games = Original Design” that failed to fire a single stone against Poke.

However, it's only available in US, Brazil and Nigeria and it’s only for Google Android users. So Apple Phone users and peeps outside of these countries, the Facebook Hello is not for you!

The app, which is free on the Google Play Store is really undergoing guinea pig testing as per the Press Release on FB Newsroom entitled  “Introducing Hello”, published April 22, 2015, FB Newsroom.

More interestingly, this is a direct challenge to Google Android Hangouts, which allows you to make free Local and International Landline and Mobile calls as noted in my blog article entitled “How to make free Google International Calls with Google Hangouts – Free Calling for Laptop, Google Android and iOS”.

So how is this a big deal? Well, it’s both creepy as well as brilliant. I must admit it, but Facebook has a huge hit on their hands.

Facebook Hello App - Caller ID for Anonymous and People and Businesses Finder

Facebook Hello basically harnesses the power of Facebook Social Graph to tap into your Contacts both on Facebook and in your contacts on your smartphone as explained in “FACEBOOK ‘HELLO’ WILL GET YOU TALKING ON THE PHONE AGAIN”, published 04.22.15 by BRIAN BARRETT , Wired.  

Once installed, if you and your Facebook friend have the same level of privacy setting, Facebook Hello will extract their phone contact information and populate its listings, making them only a few keystrokes away as explained in the article ““Hello” Is Facebook’s New Android-Only Social Caller ID App”, published 23.04.2015 by Josh Constine, Techcrunch.

If however, your friend has set everything to private, then you cannot call them. 

But you can still probably message them or contact them by other means, as a mobile phone contact number, even if on Facebook and the persons is your friend, is still considered private information. 

+Still, before you use this app, it might also be a good idea to set your Phone contact information to private, as by equal logic, your friend can use Facebook Hello to extract your mobile phone contact information.

This is where Facebook Hello App gets exciting and creepy as it leverages the power of the Social Graph. Because some Facebook Pages for Facebook users are not set to private, this means you can use the app to as a fancy caller ID to determine who is calling you.

That is, once they have a Facebook page and their number listed in Facebook is not set to private as noted in the article “Facebook's Hello: A Powerful Rolodex That Should Make Google Sweat”, published 4/23/2015 by Parmy Olson, Forbes.

This means the days of the anonymous call are over, as once anyone calls you and you have Facebook Hello installed, you will know who they are, based on their publicly available information of Facebook that most of them probably did not remember to set to private.

Especially true now that anyone can find you on Facebook since they disabled the  “Who can look up your Timeline by name” feature as stated in my blog article entitled “Facebook removes Who can look up your Timeline by name feature - Facebook Pages vs Facebook Profiles as the Power of Privacy is in YOUR Hands”. 

So those annoying people who keep calling you or you're trying to block pesky telemarketers? Looking for friends who live in a particular location or a business or services in a particular geographic area?

Facebook Hello can do a Graph Search and not only help to identify them based on their publicly available information on their Facebook Profile, but you are also given the option to block them as noted in the article “Facebook introduces Hello, an app to replace the Android dialer”, published April 22, 2015 By Casey Newton, The Verge.

The one thing you CANNOT do, however, is to search for phone number for people, services and businesses not listed in Facebook or searchable via Facebook Places as described in my blog article entitled “Facebook relaunches Facebook Places – Return of Facebook Places heralds Yelp and TripAdisvor Killer putting Foursquare-Instagram LBS deal in Jeopardy

This is because they no longer have a Search engine partnership with Bing with whom they'd parted ways back in December 2014 as stated in the article “Facebook unfriends Microsoft's Bing search”, published December 12, 2014 by Ian Sherr, CNET News and “Facebook dumps Microsoft Web search results”, published Fri Dec 12, 2014  BY ALEXEI ORESKOVIC, Reuters.

So no phone number searches outside of Facebook Graph.

Facebook Hello and Wi-Fi Calling – Most likely support for WhatsApp Free Calling service

Another odd feature of Facebook Hello is the support for Wi-Fi Calling.

This is strange, as if you already have the latest version of WhatsApp from April 23rd 2015, you can make free WhatsApp to WhatsApp calls with the possibility of free Local and international calls to landline and Mobile numbers as noted in my blog article entitled “@WhatApp Voice Calling comes to Version 2.12.1 - How Wi-Fi Calling by Proxy coming to Jamaica with Features to Boot”. 

Most likely, the Wi-Fi calling, support is for WhatsApp. Potentially in the future, this may become an In-App Ad supported service, allowing Facebook to make money from possibly offering Free Local and International calling to Mobile and Landline numbers.

As mentioned before, Facebook Hello, by replacing you Android Dialer, has put Google Hangouts in their sights described in my blog article entitled “How to make free Google International Calls with Google Hangouts – Free Calling for Laptop, Google Android and iOS”.

Good to note here that Wi-Fi Calling is no different from VoIP Calling except that one is endorsed by the Telecom Provider while the other is third party.

Still, this too has potential, as it paves the way for Facebook to make a Smartphone OS and potentially, a full-fledged Facebook Smartphone.

Facebook Hello is Facebook Home - How WhatsApp free Local and International Mobile and Landline Calls might work

Facebook Hello app reminds me a lot of a previous attempt to control your smartphone back in March 2013 called Facebook Home.

This is why I basically said that Facebook Hello is creepy, as that level of control with a company which has Facebook Graph search as described in my Geezam blog article entitled “Facebook to introduce #Hashtags with emoticons, monetizing FB and making Open Graph Search Practical” that can match numbers in your contact dialed to your Facebook contacts is a little bit much.

However, it also means that Facebook can determine who you call the most, based on the number that you dial the most. Such a database of phone numbers and who calls whom the most as I’ve explained above has a lot of useful application.

It not only allows you to not only find the contact and phone numbers of your most frequently called friends and find them based on their geographic locations, but you can also determine the identity of anonymous people and business who call you in the same manner as well. Once, of course, their information is listed on Facebook is not set to private and even block them.

Facebook Hello Calling Database – Six Degrees of separation to determine real-world connections

On the Research side, Facebook can use the data to expand their research into the Six Degree of Separation whose results were released back in March 2012 as stated in my blog article entitled “Facebook acquires Karma and goes into Social Gifting - Six Degrees of Separation and The Perks of Being a Wallflower”.

Only this time, it'll focus on the connections between persons on Facebook and who they are in contact with in real life, yielding valuable information as to who is really your friend on Facebook.

The app is free, but expect this data to potentially be used to send you In-App Advertising in exchange for some other capabilities, such as the ability to make free Local and International Mobile and Landline Calls via WhatsApp.

Apple peeps and persons NOT in the US, Brazil and Nigeria guinea pig test area, you’re out of luck, as you'll have to wait until Facebook makes a version of Facebook Hello that works with the Apple iPhone and outside of those three (3) countries.

Here's the link:

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