Recently, Facebook announced a new group-calling app – CatchUp. Read on to know more about it….
As most of the world focuses heavily on video conferencing, Facebook’s new product experimentation team has debuted its latest experimental app dubbed “CatchUp.” Recently, Facebook announced a new group-calling app – CatchUp which allows users to set up group calls with up to 8 people. However, this is not a video calling app but an audio-only app. The Catch Up app is being developed by Facebook New Product Experimentation (NPE) team. For video-calling services, Facebook had earlier released a Messenger Rooms app that can allow up to 50 people to connect in a single call. However, this is Facebook’s first audio-only application.
Talking about the CatchUp app Facebook said in a blog post, that its goal is to address the biggest problem people have with making phone calls today: ensuring someone else’s availability. “Keeping in touch with friends and family is important, especially during this time of physical distancing. Messaging and video calls are great ways to send a quick update or connect with someone face-to-face, but speaking to someone over the phone offers a unique balance of both convenience and personal connection. Based on our studies, we found that one of the main reasons people don’t call friends and family more frequently is that they don’t know when they are available to talk or are worried they may reach them at an inconvenient time. CatchUp addresses this problem, and even makes group calling as easy as one tap.”
Knowing the App
CatchUp is an audio-only app that would let people make group calls with eight people. Users are not required to have a Facebook account for using CatchUp. CatchUp can access your phone’s contact list to make calls. However, permission to access the contact list has to be given first.
CatchUp lets users let other users know that they are available to talk and they can also call close friends and family members who are available in the app. Catchup also lets people more than five people at once. Facebook has also revealed that the app lets users set their statuses to “ready to talk” and “offline” when not using the app. There’s also a focus on ease of use, as you can place a call with one tap and add additional contacts without having to “merge” the calls.
Facebook explains that while video chats are on the rise, a phone call is often more convenient as users aren’t always video-ready or they’re trying to multi-task, not sit in front of a screen. Users can also create and join groups of friends, family, and mutual contacts in the app, as you can with other chat apps. Or they can place 1-on-1 calls as an alternative to using the phone.
CatchUp has not been rolled out yet officially as it is being currently tested in the US and it will be gradually rolled out for iOS and Apple users in the days to come. However, there is no certainty whether the app would turn out to be like the way it is being speculated. As Facebook mentioned in the blog that NPE apps are experimental, subject to change, and adhere to Facebook’s Terms of Service, Data Policy, and NPE Team Supplemental Terms.