One of the nice changes that has come with the latest update to the Google Phone app under Android Marshmallow has been a significantly improved Caller ID function. Caller ID itself is a rather old technology with its origins back 1984 and while in principle it hasn’t changed a lot, providing this information on mobiles has been a less than perfect scenario. Unlike land lines where you can associate a number with a specific point geographically on a map, mobiles are, well, mobile, and tying a number to them when they could be triangulating between cell towers is a challenge.
That is where this latest update from Google comes into play. With the abilities built into the Phone app and Marshmallow, you can now get far more detail on a call than you could before including how far away that person or business is from your current location and information on that business. All if this is possible of course with Google having the machine learning and apps that take advantage of it on your phone and in the cloud. While it is far from perfect, it certainly is more robust than simply depending on the person calling you to be in your contacts – the most common way around the Caller ID problem on mobiles.
As I’ve implied a couple of times already, you have to have the latest Google Phone app and Android Marshmallow on your phone for this new functionality to work. The app comes by default on Nexus devices but you can now install it on any Android phone and use it as your default phone app. However, to get this new function you must be running Android Marshmallow. With that established, now it is just a matter of enabling the function which I go into after the break.
To enable the new Caller ID feature, open up the Google Phone app then go to the menu in the upper right corner and go to Settings. In Settings you will see an option, “Caller ID by Google”. Tap
on that and use the slider to enable the feature. As you read on this page, you will see that this feature shows the names of people and business that are not in your contacts. That’s a big difference on how Caller ID was handled previously as it was highly dependent on your contact information. Once you have it setup, tap your Home button and you are done. When you receive a call or place a call, you will see a new page in the Phone app that displays information about the business and the distance that business or person is away from you.
While the new Caller ID is not perfect, it is an improvement over what you normally get on your mobile. It is also a great example of how Google merges information and
content from different apps to provide you as a user as much information as possible or at least have it a tap away for you to see.
If you have upgraded to Android Marshmallow then give this a try. I think you will like what you see.