Facebook‘s New Product Experiments team have released a new, simple app that gives people who aren’t on conventional social media the ability to indicate that they’re ‘online’ and ready to talk over the phone. While the concept might be thoughtful, it’s clear that a few more things needed to be thought.
For starters, one of the promo images on the Play Store listing makes it clear Facebook uses a couple of stock image providers.
We also appreciate how we’re on the “release” version instead of some 0.1 or 0-alpha B.S., it makes us feel special. Furthermore, it’s probably not the best idea to funnel all feedback about the app to a single dev on the team, even if Nikki Shah is the product lead.
The app itself, which looks to be ported straight from an original iOS build, is centered around your contacts and whether they also have CatchUp. You can easily let people know if you’re available to talk by toggling a switch in the app or on a persistent notification. Once you are available, you can make calls to other available people through the app — one-on-one or in groups.
Facebook created CatchUp as a response to a recurring finding in its studies: people would like to call their friends and family, but don’t know when they’re available to talk or are worried that they may call them at a wrong time. And sure, it’s always nice to be mindful of people’s capacities in the moment that you want to chat with them… but making people aware of that capacity probably isn’t best left to the equivalent of flipping an open-closed sign with an app.
If you want to try it out, grab CatchUp from the Play Store or APK Mirror.