Facebook brings context to messaging with ‘caller ID’ for Messenger
By Ian Paul
PCWorldMay 22, 2015 7:41 am PDT
If your Facebook feed is anything like mine, it’s filled with acquaintances, close friends, old friends, and a few people who got in due to an errant click. To help you keep everyone straight, Facebook recently announced a new addition it’s dubbing “caller ID for messaging.”
When you get a new message from someone it will include context information such as how you’re connected to them or where they’re from. Facebook says it will also include a larger photo. The new context can help jog your memory if an old high school friend is coming into town or an acquaintance from your community wants to say hello.
Facebook’s messaging update is rolling out to both Android and iOS users in the U.S. It’s not clear if the new feature will also show up in Facebook’s messaging window on desktop PCs.
This is the second context-based feature Facebook has rolled out recently. In April, the company introduced Hello for Android that provides caller ID information based on public Facebook data.
Why this matters: While it’s handy to see reminders about people on your friends list, Facebook may be more interested in showing you context about people you don’t know. With more than one billion active users every month, Facebook is certainly in a good position to help connect you to strangers. To make context truly useful in messaging, however, Facebook would have to loosen the restrictions on how unconnected people can contact you without getting shunted to the ”Other” inbox.