Long before chat bubble ellipses and “read” messages, people would refuse to answer phone calls by using Caller ID. At first, Caller ID was a separate machine that connected to your phone’s cradle. Soon enough, it came embedded as a digital reader on your home phone. With the explosion of smartphones in the last 15 years, land lines have fallen into the dustbin of yesteryear’s technology and with them, Caller ID. But now, thanks to Google, we can bring back one of the 90’s most glorious inventions (sorry, Internet) with the Google Dialer app.

How the Google Dialer App Works

Of course, most pre-programmed phone apps will screen your calls for you. But it’s getting harder and harder to tell what is a robo-call and what is simply an unknown number. In an effort to improve your calling experience, the Google Dialer app comes with spam protection, which shows up as a big red bar on your phone whenever a suspected spammer or telemarketer might be trying to reach you. You can also block numbers you don’t want calls from and even report suspicious numbers directly in the app.

Another great feature of this app is the visual voicemail (which currently exists in later versions of the iPhone). You no longer need to call your voicemail in order to access your voice messages. You can view, playback, save, or delete any messages right there in the app, in one convenient place.

The Problem with the Google Dialer App

As great as that sounds, the main problem with the Google Dialer app is that it is only available for Marshmallow-supported Nexus, Android One and Google Play Edition phones. This means, that all other phones and carriers are out of luck. Since most phones have a pre-programmed and un-deletable phone app, Google has not specified if it will be working with smartphone developers to make Dialer available to other phones.

Great Caller ID App Alternatives

Fortunately, other Caller ID apps are available for both Android and iOs users. Both Truecaller and Hiya are suitable alternatives that will allow you to screen, analyze, block, and report unwanted and spammy numbers.

Too Bad, Google

It’s unfortunate that the Google Dialer app doesn’t work with non-Google manufactured devices. The good news is, you can still reap all the benefits of Caller ID with other great apps, and keep telemarketers and robo-calls at bay forever.