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Summary:

Caller ID is getting a big overhaul in Android 4.4 KitKat, and start next year, it will automatically display profile photos of verified Google+ members.

KitKat Caller ID

Smartphones may have come a long way, but caller ID has remained largely the same. Google is looking to change that with Android 4.4 KitKat, which taps into a host of Google services, such as Google Places. And on Tuesday Google’s Attila Bodis took to Google+ to announce that KitKat’s caller ID will automatically hook into Google+ to display profile photos of verified users.

According to Bodis, “Coming in early 2014, users who have verified their phone number and have discovery turned on will have their names and Google Profile photos display whenever they call you, or you call them (it’s great if a new friend who hasn’t been saved in your contacts yet calls you).”

That means you’ll no longer have to sync photos of your contacts from somewhere else. As long as they’re on Google+ and opted in, their profile picture will automatically appear whenever you receive a call.

This raises some privacy concerns, of course. But you can choose not to share your phone number on Google+ or to opt out completely, so this doesn’t strike me as a very big deal.

In addition to profile photos, phones that run KitKat will also be able to use Google Places and Google Apps to match numbers against company listings or look someone up in your Google Apps domain to let you know that someone important is calling.

You can check your settings, or just make sure you like the way your look in your profile picture, by clicking here: http://goo.gl/g9P3Bp

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  1. Has anyone asked how or whether Google is anonymyizing the requests? I’m less concerned about the idea that people I call can see my picture. It’s more concerning that every time someone calls me my phone is submitting the phone number to Google to query the identity.

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