Facebook releases ‘CatchUp’ app to facilitate group phone chats

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The New Product Experimentation (NPE) team of Facebook has launched its sixth new app. The app is called “Catchup”, and the name makes its purpose and definition clear.

Catchup is designed for setting up one-one or group calls with friends who are up for it. The app lets you know who is available, and then you can talk to that friend or a group of friends over a voice call. One thing to note here is that Facebook’s Catchup app facilitates audio calls.

The reason behind this facilitation is to avoid the notorious phone tags which occur when one or the other person is busy when you call them. And instead of reaching them, you reach their answering machine.

CatchUp allows you to not only set up calls with friends who are online and available but also allows you to join an ongoing group chat. This behavior mimics that of Messenger Rooms.

Facebook introduces CatchUp app to facilitate group phone chats.
Facebook introduces CatchUp app

The new Facebook app allows users to set their status, which then informs their contacts about their availability for a call. They may also create a group call as they wish. If you are feeling too lazy to change your status, there’s an “auto-availability” function to do the job. This updates your status to available automatically, when it detects that you’re connected via Bluetooth.

One may question the necessity of this new app, as Facebook Messenger already has an option of audio and video call. It may be useful in areas that have limited connectivity, and where people prefer voice call over a video call.

The app may be experimental just like other apps launched by NPE. However, it might still help Facebook to gain useful insights into the usage patterns of its users. The app has been made available only in select regions on both iOS and Android platforms.

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