Truecaller Adds iMessage-Like Instant Messaging with a Focus on Combating Fake News
Truecaller is no longer just a caller ID platform. The Swedish startup, over the past year, has augmented its main app with a host of features and services including instant payments in India. Today, it’s adding another one and it’s the one I personally have been waiting for a while. Instant messaging. Yes, Truecaller now has a built-in chat feature but that doesn’t mean you will have to install a new app or get familiar with a separate tab inside the app.
Truecaller Chat integrates with the existing messaging tab allowing you to switch between IM and the good-ol SMS seamlessly. If you message users who are on the latest build, your conversations will be displayed in a blue bubble and you won’t be charged. If not, you’ll see a green bubble indicating it was dispatched as an SMS. If it sounds all too familiar, that’s because it is. Apple’s iMessage has exclusively offered this for years on iPhones.
However, Truecaller Chat’s headlining feature is its anti-spam capabilities. Users have the ability to report misinformation, links to malicious websites, fake articles, and more. In addition, Truecaller Chat comes with all the standard messaging features including media support, video calls through Google Duo, peer-to-peer payments, location sharing, and more.
For now, Truecaller Chat is limited to Android users who are part of the beta channel. You can sign up for the same here or simply sideload the beta APK. The company says it will begin rolling out to everyone in a few weeks.
The launch couldn’t come at more dire and ideal time. India is struggling to contain the spread of fake news, especially on WhatsApp. With a familiar name and an app that’s already installed on millions of phones, Truecaller may have a chance here. As we outlined in a piece over a year ago, however, Truecaller’s predicaments remain the same. People still don’t see it as more than just a caller ID service that lives in the background and identifies unknown callers.
Then there are the privacy concerns. While Truecaller, on multiple occasions, has said they don’t scan users’ phone books or sell personal information, the company is still unable to ward the tarnished image off. Therefore, it remains to be seen how Truecaller spreads the word and gets users on board.