Facebook can now take over all your smartphone’s calls with its new dialer app called Hello.
It puts Facebook-centric features front and center, like using Messenger to call your friends, while also pledging better security with call-blocking features.
The app uses the Facebook database to identify callers, so you’ll know who is calling, even if it isn’t one of your contacts. It touts more power in blocking unwanted numbers and a search feature that makes it easier to find nearby businesses. The app follows Google’s Material Design guidelines very closely, keeping clean divisions between your recent calls, the dialer, Facebook contacts, and settings. Unfortunately, there isn’t yet a way to import any of your device’s existing contacts, so it won’t be useful for looking up those who you’re not connected to via Facebook.
The search capabilities are otherwise similar to the stock dialer on Nexus devices, which lets you search for the name of the nearby pizza place right inside that app.
The Settings menu features a button to delete your data from Hello, wiping it from both your device and Facebook's servers.
Hello is likely to stay as an Android-exclusive, as iOS doesn’t offer the same kind of system-level permissions needed for this type of application. Hello is available now in the Google Play Store.
The story behind the story: Facebook tried to get its hands more deeply into Android once before with its unsuccessful Facebook Home effort, which sought to get the news feed and other core Facebook features front and center. Facebook clearly isn’t done trying to get a stronger hold on your phone, using Android’s relative openness as an entry point to doing so.