TrueCaller Rolls Out in the UK

TrueCaller has announced the UK launch of its mobile app of the same name that filters and blocks spam and nuisance calls, and provides real-time information about the user’s friends’ status from social networks.

TrueCaller, which is available for iOs, Android, Symbian and Windows Mobile is already the top-selling app in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. It works by crowd-sourcing the views of approaching 1m global subscribers.

If an in-coming call is unwanted or spam, callers report back to TrueCaller’s cloud-based database via the app. When a cluster of subscribers have reported a caller as spam, the central database is automatically tagged, and callers can opt to have the app automatically block the call. The app also detects whether or not a phone number calling the user is in their handsets address book by checking the online database. By doing so, it helps to filter out unwanted calls.

“We came up with the idea for the product because we were being plagued with nuisance calls from a company that makes razors of all things,” explains TrueCaller co-founder and COO, Nami Zarringhalam. “In the space of a week, I had a dozen calls from a variety of people trying to get me to buy their razor. Every time they called, I said that I am happy with my current razor arrangements but they wouldn’t listen. Eventually, I looked in the mirror, admired my clean-shaven face, and said ‘enough is enough’.”

A poll for TrueCaller found that the top five nuisance calls originated from the following sources:

  • Mobile phone companies or resellers
  • Other utilities, including gas and electricity suppliers
  • Personal finance companies
  • American investment houses
  • “Chuggers” soliciting donations

When a call comes in from someone not in the user’s phone book, the app draws on public data from TrueCaller partners, including various white and yellow pages directories from around the world, and TrueCaller’s unique crowdsourced data, to display the caller’s ID. If no information is available, TrueCaller will display the city and country of origin of the caller. In some countries it will also show which operator the number belongs to. TrueCaller is also working on a version for the UK that updates users’ phonebooks if they choose to share the data, with missing information such as street, city, postcode and country. TrueCaller says it expects to enhance this aspect of the service over time.

In addition to screening out unwanted calls, TrueCaller also integrates with social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn. The app retrieves the most recent status updates from friends who are calling and displays it on the phone’s screen as the call comes in.

TrueCaller is currently screening over 20m searches per month. Services are live in Europe, N. America and Asia. The application is available for Android, Windows Mobile, Symbian and iPhone, with a BlackBerry version is in the final stages of development.