The latest version of Android has introduced quite a number of features, some of which we’ve already covered in our Android 4.4 tag portal. Others are still continually being discovered or officially revealed, like the improvements to the built-in photo editor in the Gallery app. Now Google is coming out with another new feature that enhances the default dialer app’s caller ID to go beyond your usual contact list.
It doesn’t come as a shock that Google has been gathering information, such as names and phone numbers, but now the company is putting such information to arguably good use to provide Android users with an additional convenience. The new phone app in Android 4.4 features a new caller ID that identifies and matches numbers, both from incoming and outgoing calls, with names coming from a number of Google’s services, particularly Google Places and Google Apps for Businesses. What this practically means is that Android users will be able to search for the phone number of companies, stores, and other establishments. In the case of Google Apps, users will also be able to search or identify numbers of co-workers who have their numbers stored in the company’s Apps system.
NOTE: To make very clear – numbers are only going to be available when you call someone or if they call you, and then ONLY if they’ve done two specific things:
1. A user has to have verified their number.
2. A user must have Discovery turned on (this is opt-in).
While this does have very practical uses, letting users easily search for, say, a restaurant, or filter calls coming from the workplace, an upcoming feature will definitely make some users feel a bit uncomfortable. In 2014, phone numbers that are associated with the Google Account of even a regular user will be searched and displayed in the dialer, whether or not that user is in your contact list. Regardless of the benefits to convenience of this upcoming feature, a good number of users will most probably consider it as too infringing on their privacy.
Fortunately, this feature is optional for personal accounts, although Google Apps users might have different company policies in place. Users can disable the option on their account settings page. Do note, however, that Google+ has a different and independent setting, controlling who can see and search for your phone number, that has to be set separately.