Built by Facebook’s Creative Labs and Messenger team, the app connects directly with the social network so users can see who’s calling, block unwanted calls, and search for people and places.
“When you get a call, Hello will show you info about who’s calling you, even if you don’t have that number saved in your phone,” Andrea Vaccari, product manager at Facebook, notes in a new blog post. “You will only see info that people have already shared with you on Facebook."
With Hello, users can also search for people and businesses on Facebook and call them with a single tap.
Competing with established business directories from Yellow Pages to Google, people can use Hello to find the hours of operation for a business, make a reservation and get directions.
Users can also block specific numbers and adjust whether they want to automatically block calls from commonly blocked numbers. Blocked calls go straight to voicemail and can be reviewed in users’ recent calls list.
The new app is part of a broader effort by Facebook to embed itself into consumers’ mobile lives.
The number of mobile Facebook users worldwide will approach 1 billion this year, eMarketer estimates. Put another way, more than 70% of all Facebook users will use mobile this year. By 2018, more than three-quarters of the social network's audience will access it via mobile phones on a regular basis -- reaching 1.34 billion users.
Stateside, nearly 80% of Facebook users -- or 123.1 million consumers -- are expected to access the site regularly via mobile device this year, per eMarketer. Overall, Facebook’s share of the $36.5 billion worldwide mobile ad spending is expected to reach 20.4%, this year, according to eMarketer.
Separate and apart from Facebook proper, the company's WhatsApp unit claimed more than 700 million monthly active users, in January.
At the end of January, Facebook boasted 1.4 billion users worldwide. On mobile, Facebook saw an average of 745 million daily active users in December -- an increase of 34% year-over-year -- and 1.19 billion monthly active users, which was up 26% year-over-year.