Bonnie Cha

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Humin App Adds a Human Touch to Your Phone’s Address Book

Take a look at your smartphone’s address book. Maybe it does a good job of storing basic contact information, but it doesn’t tell you much about the person beyond that, and if you have a lot of contacts, it can get pretty messy. One San Francisco-based company is looking to change all that.

Shown off today at the D: Dive Into Mobile conference in New York, Humin is an app that makes your phonebook more than just a repository for numbers and email addresses.

The app has several goals: To add a more human (hence the name) touch to your address book by highlighting your relationship to each contact, to make search easier, and to help you connect with new people through trusted sources.

“We thought it was time for people to really start making sense of relationships. How many times have you looked at your phone and said, ‘How do I even know this person?'” said Ankur Jain, the app’s creator.

Jain joined AllThingsD’s Liz Gannes on stage to demo Humin.

Using your phone’s address book, the app creates a profile for each individual, and pulls information about that contact from various social networks and sources, including Facebook, LinkedIn and Google. You can add notes, such as when and where you met that person, or his or her favorite sports team.

But even if you don’t add notes, Humin “ties deeply” into native apps on your phone to match a contact with a place. Let’s say you meet someone at a conference, which is entered into your calendar. Humin knows that you met John Doe that week, so it’s likely you met John at the conference.

“Naturally, we think in terms of ‘who works at company X and lives in San Francisco?’ Our app lets you type just that and search in a way that’s similar to how our brain works,” Jain said.

The app also searches friends of friends, and tells you which of your contacts is the strongest connection, so you can ask for an introduction.

Privacy and security is always a concern with apps that access your address book. Jain said that all the information that’s pulled from your contact lists, social networks and public records is ingested in the individual’s mobile device.

Humin is scheduled for release this summer as a free iOS app. An Android version will follow soon after.

Prior to starting Humin, Jain founded the Kairos Society, a nonprofit organization for young entrepreneurs and innovators working on solutions for education, biotechnology, healthcare and more.

Lauren Goode contributed to this report.

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