Why it matters to you
Unwanted calls from telemarketers are pretty much unavoidable these days. Some industry analysts peg the number of unsolicited marketing calls at 35 percent of all calls placed in the U.S., or between three to four for every 10 calls. Luckily, apps like Truecaller are fighting the good fight against malicious telemarketers with caller ID and spam blocking. Now, it’s going further.
On Tuesday, Truecaller unveiled a “complete redesign” of its Android app that adds four key features to the anti-spam app’s suite. The first, SMS filtering, is aimed at combating the 1.2 trillion spam messages which account for 15 percent of all SMS messages sent globally. When you receive a text message, Truecaller now applies filters that identify the offending messages. From a user perspective, it’s completely automatic — it’s as if nothing happened.
Another new feature, Flash Messaging, can send pre-defined messages to any contact — you can let them know you’re on your way, for example, or if you’ve reached home. Another, Truecaller Payments, lets Android users in India send and receive money securely over the phone.
But one of the most significant newcomers to Truecaller app is integration with Google Duo, Google’s video calling app for Android and iOS. In the coming months, Duo will arrive as a permission-based service within the Truecaller app — you will be able to initiate and receive Duo calls in Truecaller, and message other contacts who have set up Duo on their devices.
“From the very beginning we have worked relentlessly to build a product that helps simplify communications for consumers across the globe, and help them address important needs such knowing the identity of those calling, and blocking unwanted numbers,” Alan Mamedi, co-founder and CEO of Truecaller, said in a statement. “With valuable partners like Google, we are excited to take the next step in our journey, bringing all your mobile communications and transactions under one roof and giving you the safest, most efficient, and most convenient experience possible without having to switch back and forth between providers or download multiple apps for each service.”
More: Truecaller patches exploit that left millions of Android users vulnerable
It’s too early to say for certain, but the “strategic agreement” between Truecaller and Duo could signal the latter’s gradual transition from a siloed app to a cross-platform service. The Duo app has struggled to maintain momentum, plummeting in the iOS app Store and Google Play Store rankings mere days after its launch. Integration with apps like Truecaller, which boasts more than 250 million users globally, could turn that trend around.
“Video calling should work for everybody, regardless of what platform they are on,” Amit Fulay, head of Duo at Google, said. “With this Truecaller integration, we’re able to bring a better video calling experience to millions of new users.”