Android app combines social networking, phone calls, analytics

Current Caller ID from WhitePages is available free in the Google Play store

Current Caller ID, a new, free app that launched Wednesday for Android phones, applies social media and analytics to traditional phone calls.

For example, if a person or business calls you and they aren't in your address book, Current will check the Web for a matching phone number and display the name on your phone's screen. Sometimes the data didn't display before I picked up the call, but the app updated it afterward -- the search for a match must have taken longer than it did for me to pick up the phone.

When you link your Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn accounts to the app, it will display callers' latest status updatse or Twitter messages when they ring you. I found that feature worked pretty consistently.

If you're interested in analyzing your calling and texting habits with friends, click on the "stats" tab in the app and it will tell you how you communicate, displaying a pie chart of incoming and outgoing calls and texts. You can access the statistics for any of your recent calls.

The stats will also tell you when it's best to text or call your contact based on your interaction. I found it interesting to see which friends I text and call more and vice versa, but this information won't be essential for most users.

I did run into one problem that I found distracting. When I returned back to my smartphone after being away, Current Caller ID would alert me that I missed 26 -- or some other large number -- of calls. It wasn't an error, because I had missed a number of calls over a period of time, but not that many since I had last checked my phone. The app should only have told me how many calls I missed since I last used my phone, rather than all of the calls I had missed in a few weeks time.

Current Caller ID won't replace your smartphone's default telephone application or address book. You still need to use your phone's default app to dial out, but Current will override it for incoming calls. Tighter integration into the smartphone's default telephone application would make Current Caller ID more valuable, but overall it was a welcome addition to my phone and one that I won't delete.

Nick Barber covers general technology news in both text and video for IDG News Service. E-mail him at Nick_Barber@idg.com and follow him on Twitter at @nickjb.

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