Integrated Phone Directory Without Google

We love open-source, and we love it when open-source becomes useful. Unfortunately, some of the apps you have become accustomed to are closed down and proprietary. For example, the KitKat Dialer. Google's new dialer application in KitKat brought with it some new, cool features like Caller ID and integrated Phone Directory but at the expense of not including those features in the open source AOSP Dialer.

Some users are fine with using Google's proprietary apps, commonly referred to as GApps, while others choose not to for one reason or another (most commonly due to privacy concerns). So what if there was a way to use the open source AOSP Dialer, while still making use of features like the Google Dialer?

Back at the end of last year we told you about some new features in the works, and while this one wasn't on the list, we'd like to give you a sneak peak into the development process: integrated phone number search.

This (currently in development) feature allows you to directly search for a nearby place's phone number simply by typing keywords or a place's name into your Dialer search bar. A second later results appear, and you can just tap on them to dial the number. This feature relies on OpenStreetMap, a free, open and complete mapping service, which translates to a few things:

  1. We are not sending your query through Google's "Big Brother" services, and
  2. We are sending a rough position of your location instead instead of an exact one, so that you have nearby locations while at the same time not sending your exact position to OSM servers. And heck, you could even host it on your own server if you want to :)

For the sake of being complete and covering all possibilities, we will also offer a way to get this feature through Google Places API, thus allowing you the ability to choose the provider instead of being forced to use Google's. OSM, while nice, still is missing a few small shops that Google Places lists. With that being said, it sure beats the hilarity of Apple Maps. So keep an eye out for more on this new feature that is currently in the works!