Facebook NPE team launches audio-only calling app CatchUp, here's all you need to know
Users will not need a Facebook account to access the service; the app works with the phone's contact list.
June 02, 2020 / 09:40 PM IST
Facebook's New Product Experimentation (NPE) team has launched a new app called CatchUp. The app makes it easier for friends and family in the US to coordinate or join a group call with up to eight participants.
Unlike other group chat apps, including Facebook’s own Messenger Rooms, calls on CatchUp are audio-only, not video. Additionally, it also flags when users are available. Users will not need a Facebook account to access the service; the app works with your phone’s contact list. However, you will need to give permission so that your app can access the contact list. Facebook claims users can set their statuses to “ready to talk” and “offline” when not using the app.
"Keeping in touch with friends and family is important, especially during this time of physical distancing. Messaging and video calling 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," Facebook said in a blog post.
The blog suggests that CatchUp will be tested in the United States for a limited time on Android and iOS. Facebook’s NPE apps are experimental and are subject to charge, which means the app may be subject to some changes before a global rollout. The app also includes privacy features that allow you to configure which contacts can join you in a group call and which ones can participate in personal 1-on-1 calls.