One in five people on the planet actively use Facebook. That's a staggering 1.4bn people interacting through the service. 10% of the planet's VoIP traffic - that's voice calls sent over data networks if you didn't already know - are handled by Facebook Messenger. It also delivers 45n messages daily. So to say that Facebook as grown from being a social network to a global utility wouldn't be far off the mark.
These figures were released by Mark Zuckerberg as part of Facebook's earnings call. Also released: Facebook Hello, a replacement dialer for Android phones, which will handle call routing, call blocking and caller ID functions.
The calling is effectively an extension of what Messenger already does. It's how Hello interacts with the information stored in Facebook which makes it exciting. Get a call from someone whose number you don't know, but who is on Facebook? The app will deliver pertinent information to help you decide whether to take the call. Similarly, outgoing calls will surface that same information so you're always up to date on the person you're speaking to. Powerful stuff.
Lastly Hello can be set to always bounce anonymous callers to voicemail and tells you if a calling number has been blocked by other users, saving you the trouble of speaking to robot diallers and pushy cold callers.
It promises to be a pretty sharp piece of software and demonstrates one of Android's biggest advantages. This can't happen on the iPhone, because iOS doesn't currently allow any direct interaction between the phone and third party apps.
Hello is available in the Google Play store today and more details and a video showing functionality can be found here at Facebook's newsroom page.