Facebook for Android users were treated to what appears to be an upcoming feature for the social media website titled simply “Try Phone”. After a server side updated, they were prompted to try out the new feature, whose description says that it displays the caller’s info and block calls automatically from known blocked numbers.
The prompt came with links to install and update options, which redirected users to blank pages – probably because it’s still in an internal testing phase. It has since been removed by Facebook, but mention of it spread through a number of Android-related blogs and websites. The feature also had an unusual [FB-ONLY] tag following it.
Speculation about what the app’s description really gives away with regard to its functionality has mounted since throughout the web. Forbes’ Parmy Olson commented that this is in fact a native dialer app, which would be different from its video call service by coordinating with a mobile carrier’s voice network.
PC Magazine also wonders whether displayed caller information is available only for users in your friends list, or if it applies to any Facebook user sharing his/her phone number. The app is unlikely to be available for iOS smartphones or tablets due to their restrictive OS architecture.
The block calls feature is also on the vague side; the way it’s presented suggest it is spam protected, by referring to “commonly blocked numbers”, so it may as well stop you being contacted by pesky marketers or sales agents through it. No details about its functionality have been announced by Facebook, with this being the first we hear about the now intriguing possible feature.
Facebook might be posed to make an announcement in this regard on Wednesday or Thursday, as it is set to host its F8 Developer’s Conference in San Francisco. Details have also recently surfaced about the fact that Facebook will start allowing some third party apps to customize its Facebook Messenger.
This is all going into the direction of Facebook trying to become an integral part of day-to-day communications, attempting to make its services in this regard more interesting in a bid to overcome the more and more endangered mobile carriers. Recently, Facebook-acquired WhatsApp, the world’s most popular messenger-type app, also introduced a free video call feature.
Image Source: Forbes