29 June 2020
Facebook has launched a new app called Catchup, an audio calling app in the US. The app arrives when the tech world is pretty much already crowded with so many similar apps. But Facebook does have some pitch points to make and convince you to try its app for once.
Facebook’s internal R&D group, NPE Team launches the app when others are investing heavily in video chat apps. So, this is one thing that makes CatchUp a little different from the existing apps. Another thing on the basis of which Facebook wants to convince you is that CatchUp doesn’t require you to have a Facebook account, rather the app works with your phone’s contacts list. Well, this great virtue of the app comes as a benefit more than an advantage over any existing app. But this feature adds a good weight overall because not everyone wants to be on Facebook, and catching up with friends on CatchUp can still be done.
Facebook touts CatchUp makes itself apart from others as it allows users to set up their statuses as “Ready to Talk” or offline. This would let your friends and relatives know when you can talk or available for a catch-up. Facebook points out in its blog post that studies have shown people don’t call friends more frequently as they don’t know when they are available to talk or they are worried that they would end up calling others at an inconvenient time. So, here CatchUp addresses the problem and makes audio calling easy as it tells you when the other person is available to talk.
Facebook appears to have taken some inspiration from Houseparty’s feature that also notifies others when a person is available for video chat. Facebook’s CatchUp also flags when users are here (on the app). It notifies when friends open the app and flag them as “here” in the app’s interface. This way you can catch-up with someone out of their busy hours without disturbing them. People have been working from home and their work-life balance has kind of affected and their loved ones do not know when they are free or working. So, this feature would let them know when the person they have been reaching out is finally available to talk, provided that another person has set up the status as “Ready to talk.”
The CatchUp also lets you create and join group calls up to eight people.
Techcrunch reports that the idea for the app actually came prior to the COVID-19 outbreak but the research team accelerated the development as a result of the pandemic.
Initially, the app is purely an audio calling app but has enough room to accommodate the video calling feature sometime in the future. Because why not!
Facebook has announced that CatchUp in the United States is available for a limited time on iOS and Android
What do you think about CatchUp? Let us know using the comments section below.