Facebook’s internal R&D group, NPE Team, has today launched app called CatchUp it easier for friends and family U.S. to coordinate phone calls or group calls with up people. While there are of group chat apps available to users today, what makes CatchUp unique is that the calls it enables are audio-only, not video, and it flags when users are available. , CatchUp won’t need a Facebook account to use the service — the app works phone’s contacts list.
CatchUp does seem some inspiration from Houseparty, users in CatchUp can designate when they’re available by setting their status app. how Houseparty’s video chat app also see who’s live, by sending out notifications when friends open the app and flagging them as “here” app’s interface.
Similarly, CatchUp shows users as “Ready to Talk” top section of its homescreen, with offline users and other contacts listed below.
Facebook explains the app’s intention is the key reasons people make phone calls — they don’t know when someone has time don’t want to interrupt them. Meanwhile, calls that can’t be answered voicemails that recipients don’t bother checking, which forces communication through text messaging or chat apps instead. And while video chats are on , a more convenient as users aren’t always video-ready or they’re trying to multi-task, not sit of a screen.
CatchUp approaches of not knowing if a would bother someone by allowing you who and talk as soon as you launch the app.
Users create and join groups of friends, family, and mutual contacts app, as with other chat apps. Or place 1-on-1 calls as to using the phone.
Placing a call . It’s just a one-button tap — not process of calling contacts, then “merging” calls as on your smartphone’s Phone app.
Facebook explains for the app actually the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent quarantine, but the NPE Team accelerated the app’s development as a the pandemic.
While there are already easy ways voice calls using Facebook’s own Messenger and WhatsApp apps, the difference is that CatchUp works phone’s contacts. Users will download the app, but they won’t have an existing Facebook account — or an account with any Facebook-owned companies. Plus, the app’s simplified could make it easier for older users, like grandma and grandpa, to navigate. It’s really just a one-screen experience with a toggle button to become “available”
The app also includes privacy features that allow you to configure which contacts can join your 1-on-1 and group calls.
The app comes from Facebook’s NPE Team, its internal R&D group focused on new app concepts that launch without the being Facebook-connected. These apps stand on their own and gain traction alive.
To date, the NPE Team has launched apps, including meme creator Whale, conversational app Bump, music app Aux, video app Hobbi, couples app Tuned, and Apple Watch app Kit. (Bump has since .) However, unlike Facebook’s earlier efforts with NPE Team apps which were launched with little fanfare, Facebook announced CatchUp’s debut with a blog post indicate it believes the app has more of than others — perhaps its similarities to the buzzy social voice app, Clubhouse, which has yet to launch but is already getting press.
CatchUp is currently being tested U.S. for a limited time on iOS and Android devices.