It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to draw a parallel between email and SMS messaging on a mobile device. Both collect messages from familiar and unfamiliar sources, gather spam, and offer instantaneous communication with countless people from around the world.
At least, that’s what Truecaller noticed when it decided to launch Truemessenger, an alternative SMS messenger app for Android. The Swedish-based company recently raised $80 million in funding to further perfect this new line of communication powered by Google Inc.
New But Familiar Design
By connecting the proverbial dots, Truecaller is introducing a familiar system to the SMS world of communication. We’re all accustomed to filtering our emails, assigning spam when necessary and prioritizing mail in personal categories; now, Android users can operate their SMS inboxes the exact same way, making it easier to avoid unwanted spam, by verifying the identity of those who send messages. Customizable spam filters are another unique feature, as they allow inboxes to remain free of clutter and help streamline the experience for users.
But that’s not all; what makes the app ‘smarter’ is the integration of familiar social aspects with the user’s interface. The app draws photos and nicknames from popular social media sites and adds them to contacts when they message you. The app also allows users to customize color themes. What’s more, the Swedish EDM artist Avicii created a custom ringtone for the app, as a ‘friendly favor’ to the company.
Alan Mamedi, co-founder of True Software doesn’t believe we’ve seen the end of SMS messaging though. In fact, he believes some markets like the US and India have a long future of SMS usage ahead.
“The volumes are still huge, and no-one is tackling the problems,” he explained.
Currently, 15% of all SMS messages are reported as spam—this amounts to almost 1.3 billion unwanted messages every year.
By focusing on the user’s experience, Mamedi hopes that solving some of the basic communication problems with SMS will keep it viable in the future.
But what about the competition? Unlike most app founders, Mamedi believes the company is headed in the right direction because a number of larger corporations have taken notice of the work it’s already accomplished with Truecaller and now Truemessenger. Companies like Facebook were so inspired by the company’s work that they created their own caller ID app earlier this year. Since Facebook’s Hello and similar apps have launched, Truemessenger has actually received more users by proxy.
Currently, the app is only available in India and for Android users in the Google Play Store. Google’s operating system allows for third party SMS/messaging apps, whereas Apple’s iOS platform doesn’t—yet.
The good news is that SMS messaging is wising up to problems faced by its users, as advertising becomes more sophisticated and deliverable on mobile devices. How long will ‘smarter’ be ‘smart enough’? We’ll all just have to wait and see.