The experimental NPE team of Facebook has launched ‘CatchUp‘ App- the sixth new app which focuses
to cater phone calls. It is the Messenger Rooms for voice calls which gives the users an option to voice
call friend when they are online. It also allows to join the on-going group chats.
As per the app description:
“Catching up has never been this easy. See who’s available and effortlessly join one-on-one and group
calls. Never play phone tag or make an appointment to call someone again. Keep in touch more, think
about it less. Any time you’re free to talk, CatchUp!”
The app provides the option to set status for the users to inform their connections about their
availability to talk and indulge in group chats. Also, the ‘auto-availability’ function automatically updates
the status of the user when connected via Bluetooth.
This app is an alternative to Messenger call which now involves video calling as well. However,
CatchUp’s only additional function over Messenger is the status availability for audio calls set up by the
users. Thus, this function is common and does not provide extra benefits and tools to call itself a new
app of distinctive and exclusive features. Moreover, its an additional trouble for the users of both the
ends to download it in order to use it.
But this can suffice the needs of regions with limited or restricted connectivity, and emerge as a good
option for voice chats. The app is currently being tested in the US for both iOS and Android.
Facebook’s NPE – or New Product Experimentation – team is continuously testing such apps in order to
bring them into trend. Facebook has its eyes on Clubhouse, which has emerged as a trending app. It is
an audio-only chat app which gained ample of traction in some regions over the past few weeks.
Facebook’s NPE team is focused to overpower apps like Snapchat, Houseparty or TikTok or any other
such app by launching apps that pick up and are tended to trend quickly through Facebook’s popularity
Till now, NPE has launched six new apps in the last six months. These apps are:
- Kit – Provides expanded messaging options via Apple Watch
- Hobbi – Enables users to collect images of creative hobbies, and sort them into boards to track personal
- Whale – Enables users to create their own memes with simplified templates and tools
- AUX – A participatory DJ app, where users try to get their song on a group playlist
- Bump – A chat app which aims to introduce students to others in their vicinity
And now CatchUp which facilitates connection via voice calls.
Though NPE isn’t focused on any specific theme to the various apps but it is trying to win the race based
upon the usage behavior and thus, Facebook is trying to keep up with the pace of current trends.
Since, all the existing apps have the same and limited functionality, and users are already connected via
established networks, these new apps by Facebook are predicted to not stay into trend for long. It can
also be possible that Facebook might just be gathering insights to inform other areas and tools.
In its explanation of the NPE team, Facebook says that:
“We decided to create this separate developer name to help set the appropriate expectations with
people that, unlike Facebook’s family of apps, NPE Team apps will change very rapidly and will be shut
down if we learn that they’re not useful to people. We expect many failures. We also want to minimize
disruption to the billions of people who use Facebook apps every day.”
Thus, it is possible that each app could just be a small testing ground for a new feature in an existing
Facebook app. The notification for the availability of other user for phone call on Messenger can be seen
as good and fruitful tool here.
So NPE is working hard to bring their ideas into being and test the game changing capacity of each on
the App Store.
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