Social networking giant Facebook has unveiled a new app called CatchUp. Developed by Facebook's NPE (new product experimentation) team, the app is said to offer users to engage in audio calls with up to 8 members simultaneously. The app is currently being tested in the US for a limited number of users on iOS and Android. It is noteworthy, apps developed by Facebook's NPE team are experimental products and they are subject to change or can be taken down as well if Facebook believes they are not benefiting users.
CatchUp is not the first platform from Facebook that offers group-chatting facility, as it currently has WhatsApp, Messenger Rooms, etc. However, one interesting feature about CatchUp is that it tells users when other members are available to talk. Furthermore, CatchUp only offers audio-calling facility.
Besides, it also offers a "Ready to Talk" feature which seems pretty similar to what social networking app HouseParty offers. Those who would be available to talk can be clubbed under this 'Ready to Talk' feature with an option called 'Join'. CatchUp also has a second section called 'Offline' which will show users who are not available to talk at the moment and can be poked. Users will also get the option to invite others who are not on the platform. Alternatively, users can also create and join family members, friends, and mutual contacts or even place one-on-one calls through the app.
While users need to download the app, it's not necessary for them to have an existing Facebook account or an account with any of the apps owned by Facebook. According to Facebook, CatchUp will serve as a one-screen experience with a toggle button that will be useful to older people. The social networking giant also said that while the idea behind CatchUp came prior to the Coronavirus outbreak, it is the NPI team that accelerated the app's development due to COVID-19-induced lockdown almost all over the world. Therefore, going forward, it will be interesting to see if Facebook's intentions behind developing CatchUp really pays off.