GLOBAL – If knowledge is power, mobile call logs often leave us in the dark. Most of us have been using caller ID on our landlines for a long time, while fielding unknown numbers, international calls and ‘spam’ on our mobiles. I know if I see +358 it’s a call from Finland, but often if a number comes up that I don’t recognise I let it go to voicemail – or answer with trepidation.
That’s not really the best solution, which is why Nami Zarringhalam and Alan Mamedi developed TrueCaller, a ‘global phone book’ app that allows you to search for numbers, block unwanted calls and integrate caller ID with social networks.
“We made it our mission to give you as much information as possible about the people you communicate with,” says Zarringhalam.
“Symbian was our starting point,” Zarringhalam says, “because the platform had a big user base and was very strong in the Middle East and Asia where a lot of people don’t have these kind of services.”
He points out that In India, for example, “most people use pre-paid, phones and not even the operator knows who owns the phone.”
TrueCaller uses crowdsourcing to ask people to opt in by sharing their phone book. The more people share, the more accurate the information becomes.
Zarringhalam’s aim is to create a complete “global social phone book”, which combines the traditional listings of a white and yellow pages, with the ability to see who’s blocked other spam numbers, and check what your friends are up to by displaying their social networking updates before you answer the call.
We’re not sure who at Nokia is using TrueCaller, but Stephen Elop has been answering Zarringhalam’s emails:
“We really like working with Nokia, it’s a company where you can make personal connections – which is not true of all big companies. We’ve had such great support first with Symbian and now Windows Phone. I’ve even emailed Stephen Elop a couple of times – mainly to say thank you, and he’s got back to me straight away, even at weekends.”
The TrueCaller team has found working on the new Windows Phone platform “simple and elegant,” with clear guidelines so that you can “achieve a lot with little effort.”
In the future, Zarringhalam says the app will develop with more social information and locally relevant content. The most challenging thing is keeping up with the speed of development: “The hardest thing is getting the best team and hanging on to them. The mobile space is blowing up right now.”