Say you're in a hurry to phone a local business to either order a pizza, find out their hours, reserve a table... or whatever reason you might need quick access to that business's front desk. In the old days of Android KitKat, you'd have to do a search for the business from Chrome (or Google Now), locate a phone number listed for the business, and then tap the associated number to place the call. Android Lollipop has made that process quite a bit more efficient.
Let me show you how this is done.
If you open up the Android Lollipop dialer app, you should see a Search contacts & places bar at the top of the app (Figure A).
The Lollipop dialer on a Verizon-branded Nexus 6.
Tap that spot, and then enter the name of the business you want to call. The Nearby places area will fill up with matching entries (Figure B).
My favorite local Mexican diner, ready to be called.
Here's a good trick to add to this. If you tap the name or address of the entry, it will automatically open the dialer and call the number. If, however, you tap the circle icon to the left of the name, it will open up an information window (Figure C) that allows you to:
- Add the listing as a contact
- Get directions
- Send a text message (if available)
- Check recent calls to the number
- Place a shortcut to the number on your home screen
Getting information about said favorite Mexican diner.
To add the entry to your home screen, tap the menu button (three vertical dots) and then tap Place on Home Screen. To get driving directions, tap the right-angled arrow to the right of the listing. To see a call history of the number (if available), swipe upwards from the bottom.
The new Lollipop dialer is a much-improved app for the Android platform. With it, you'll enjoy a much more efficient means of connecting to businesses.
Have you found any tips or tricks for the Android dialer? If so, let us know in the discussion thread below.
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Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.