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Truecaller adds a new AI feature to detect and block more spam calls

Truecaller's Caller ID application has been instrumental in blocking an estimated 38 to 40 billion spam calls annually for its vast user base exceeding 374 million. To further entice users to subscribe to its premium tiers, the company is amplifying its filtering technology. A recent "Max" update for Android premium subscribers introduces AI-driven call blocking, screening out any calls not originating from approved contacts or those flagged as potential spam, regardless of their presence in Truecaller's database. Previously, call blocking relied on database listings and individual screening efforts.

Notably, this update is exclusive to Android, as Apple restricts caller ID services like Truecaller from automatically checking spam statuses to block calls on iOS. Consequently, Truecaller offers a more rudimentary service for iPhone users utilizing CallKit.

These developments are pivotal for Truecaller amidst a critical business juncture. In Q4, the company observed a 4% year-on-year revenue decline, despite $41.52 million in sales. Meanwhile, in India—Truecaller's largest market with 259 million users—the Indian telecom regulator proposed a Truecaller-like caller ID service to combat spam across all telecom networks. While the proposal faces opposition on privacy and technological fronts, its implementation could directly challenge Truecaller.

The latest feature underscores Truecaller's belief in capitalizing on user frustration with spam calls, even at the potential cost of missing legitimate calls from unfamiliar numbers. Truecaller is leveraging the growing interest in AI, betting on its efficacy in enhancing its core features while driving premium subscriptions.

Truecaller's premium tiers range from $9.99 per month to $99.99 per year, depending on coverage and features. This new feature reflects Truecaller's exploration of proactive automation, potentially reducing user engagement. Despite acknowledging the possibility of blocking legitimate businesses, Truecaller is confident in its AI's accuracy and encourages user feedback to refine its algorithms.

While Truecaller has brought AI-driven features to its platform, expansion to iOS remains contingent on Apple's policies. The company aims to improve the system's accuracy over time through user feedback and data accumulation.

Overall, Truecaller's Max update signifies its commitment to enhancing user experience and combating spam calls, albeit with potential trade-offs and ongoing refinements to ensure efficacy and user satisfaction.