Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

WhitePages Scoops Up Mr. Number, an Android App for Blocking Unwanted Calls

Seattle-based WhitePages has acquired Mr. Number — a startup whose Android software aims to make it easier for people to see who is calling them, and to block unwanted calls.


Mr. Number has been fighting an uphill battle since last year, when Google made it turn off a crowdsourced Caller ID database it was building from its user’s contact lists. In response, the company turned off the calling and texting features of its app, and focused on reverse lookup and other features.

WhitePages, which already has a Caller ID mobile product of its own, didn’t say how much it is paying for Mr. Number.

“Truly effective call management must provide consumers not only an understanding of who’s on the other end of the line, but the ability to block spammers and unwanted callers and texters,” WhitePages CEO Alex Algard said in a statement. “Our users now have access to the best of both worlds.”

WhitePages is buying the Mr. Number app, but its CEO and six-person team are staying independent to work on their next project.

“After Google changed their terms of service last year, we started work on an entirely new social discovery app called Skydeck,” Mr. Number CEO Jason Devitt said in an e-mail interview. “We’ve never formally announced Skydeck, but we’ve been testing it for a couple of months and we’re very pleased with the results. We sold the Mr. Number assets to WhitePages to finance the expansion of Skydeck.”

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik