Truecaller announced a redesign and a new Smart SMS feature in a bid to improve its messaging offering. The hugely popular app is mostly known for its Caller ID service but it also has offers messaging and payments in the country. The redesigned version of its app that brings a Smart SMS feature to categorise all your SMS messages and chats under four distinct tabs. The updated Truecaller app has also brought a Home tab to offer your calls history, SMS messages, and instant messages — all under one roof.
Users get a full-screen caller ID interface that is available as an opt-in feature, in addition to the existing pop-up caller ID functionality. The new features have already started rolling out for Android users in India, and the Stockholm-based company has plans to bring the offerings to iOS and its global users in the coming days as well.
The major change that users will notice first is the revamped interface that has integrated the Smart SMS feature, which uses on-device machine learning to sort messages automatically into four groups. These are Personal, Important, Others, and Spam — Important being a new addition to the list, which will list all financial and payment messages.
Truecaller says in a press release that the new tab will help users keep track of bills, payments, and budgets. The new tab will also list payment messages from other services. There are also plans to include travel reminders such as flight delays, bus seat allocation, live tracking, and updates on courier and postal deliveries, tax updates, and doctor and hospital appointments.
All this sounds similar to the categorisation of text messages on popular apps such as the SMS Organizer by Microsoft. The feature on the Truecaller app works not only for SMS messages, but also for chats using Truecaller, which are contained within the app alone, which will benefit users who are active on the platform.
Truecaller claims that all processing of its machine learning algorithm happens offline, and “no message leaves the mobile device.”
How does the spam filter work?
Truecaller already has an existing system to protect against spam messages and, of course, calls. The app has over 20 crore monthly active users, and it collects reports from these users as well as in-house algorithms to mark spam messages. According to Truecaller, it has blocked over 1,000 crore spam calls. Since spammers use multiple phone numbers Truecaller says it looks at not only the sender but also reads your messages (only offline, on your device, the spokesperson noted) to select its category appropriately.
“The categoriser is intelligent enough to adapt to, even if the sender is changed,” said Kunal Dua, Product Director, Truecaller Messaging, while addressing the media at a virtual press briefing.
Earlier, Truecaller didn’t allow users to flag messages that are wrongly marked as spam. However, Dua said that users can now train the system and tell the app if a message ends up incorrectly in the Spam tab. Manual reporting doesn’t work with the messages available in the Important tab, though.
“Soon, we will also let people manually mark messages as important that is if there is something which is let’s say, not a bill, but maybe something from your kids’ school that came in that you would like to remember or something that your wife sent or your kid sent to you that you would like to remember later, you can manually mark them as important and they will also show up in your Important tab,” he noted.
The marking of messages as important will work as how you star a message on WhatsApp or flag an email in your mailbox. However, you won’t be able to set any contact as Important so that you’ll receive all their messages in the tab.
Truecaller’s biggest premium market
India has over 15 crore monthly active Truecaller users, and almost half of them have set Truecaller as their default dialler, a spokesperson told Gadgets 360.
Truecaller’s India Marketing Director Manan Shah told reporters during the briefing that there are nearly 60 percent of its Premium subscribers in the country. That’s roughly 7,20,000 subscribers of the total 12 lakh Premium subscribers globally.
The Premium service offers an ad-free experience and features such as an Incognito Mode and the ability to get notified when someone views your Truecaller profile is available at Rs. 75 a month or Rs. 529 a year.
Truecaller has added a Home tab from where you’ll find all your calls and messages merged into a single list. This is unlike the earlier interface in which you had different tabs icons for Messages, Contacts, Calls, UPI, and Premium. However, you still have the Contacts, Premium, and Payments tabs — alongside the new Home tab.
Truecaller has also added the full-screen caller ID interface that will show who’s calling you in a full-screen view. This is available alongside the existing floating pop-up. The full-screen caller ID interface shows colours to help you identify what type of call you’re getting. This means that there will be a blue screen if you’re getting regular calls from your contacts or unknown numbers, purple for Priority calls from businesses and delivery services, red for spam calls, and gold for users with upgraded Gold accounts. It is also important to note that you can’t record calls through the full-screen caller ID interface. Truecaller says that this appears to be a limitation for all third-party developers building Android apps.
To enable the new full-screen caller ID interface, you need to visit Settings > Caller ID > Full Screen.
Truecaller is rolling out the latest features to all its Android users in India this week. All you need to do is download the latest version from Google Play to experience the changes. However, for iPhone users, the company says that the update is in the pipeline and will reach the Apple App Store soon. Some of the features will also not be available on the iPhone due to iOS restrictions.
Disclosure: Kunal Dua from Truecaller previously worked at Gadgets 360.
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