Our amazing mobile devices have made it possible for us to be constantly connected and always reachable. While it’s great that family and friends can get in touch with us at any point these days, it also means that pesky telemarketers and spam callers also have a direct line to us. No one likes receiving spam calls, but when you see an incoming call from a number you don’t immediately recognize, you don’t want to ignore it just in case it turns out to be important.
Sync.ME aims to solve this for its users. Describing itself as “the best caller ID app in the market”, it capitalizes on crowd-sourced, global contact data and links with your own social networks to make sure you know exactly who is calling or if a number is spam and is best avoided (or even blocked).
When you first open the free Sync.ME app, you’ll be briefly presented with the app’s main features — Caller ID, Call Blocking and Reverse Number Lookup. You’ll then be asked for your phone number and be prompted to sync your contacts with the Sync.ME app by allowing it to upload your contacts list to Sync.ME server’s. Not everyone will be immediately keen on this, but uploading your contacts allows Sync.ME to match them with social network profiles as well as improve the Caller ID function and Lookup functions. You can also connect your Facebook, Google+ or VKontakte accounts.
When you’ve synced your contacts and logged into your social accounts, the various data sources will be merged and your contact list will be updated with profile pictures for your friends, which provides a much better Caller ID experience, as well as job, address, birthday and website data to flesh out the info available. If you’re the sort of person who does not obsessively prune their contact book, this is an easy way to clean it up in one fell swoop. It also means if you get a call from someone who was not in your contacts but is a Facebook friend, for example, you’ll immediately recognize who is calling.
There are some known issues with regards to social accounts. One that is frustrating, and not easily fixed, is due to recent Facebook API changes. The data Sync.ME is now privy to might not reflect your friends list accurately — for me I had many friends missing and some present that I was definitely not friends with on the social network.
But the real magic of Sync.ME lies in its ability to identify spam callers. Sync.ME alerts you that any incoming call is from a potential spammer and also lets you report numbers as spam in order to flag it for other users. You can create a blacklist of contacts and immediately have those numbers blocked — perfect if a particular number bugs you frequently. And if you missed a call from a number you don’t recognize and want to check its legitimacy before calling it back, you can make use of the Reverse Number Lookup function to find out if it has been marked as spam too. Thanks to its millions of users’ collective data, I found Sync.ME to be able to accurately assess which numbers are spammers and which are not, and the search function is even capable of providing you a personal or company name for the number you enter (try searching for your own number on the Sync.ME web service and you’ll see).
Some users may be uncomfortable uploading their entire list of contacts to Sync.ME — and the app is basically functionless unless you do — so that is worth considering before installing the app. Linking social accounts and giving Sync.ME that access is another thing to ponder and not everyone will want to grant those permissions.
For those that do opt to use it, the overall experience is fluid and enjoyable. The UI is simple and easy to follow, and the app feels very polished. Sync.ME makes for a more than adequate unified contact list and caller ID app. There are some known bugs with social accounts, but the ability to cut spammers out of your life is certainly neat.