Should You Try Facebook’s New CatchUp App?

Facebook recently released an early version of CatchUp , a voice chat app with one useful feature: users can see when their contacts are available to chat and start conversations (or group calls) with a tap.

If it sounds like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp without text or video calls, that’s because it is. It also kind of reminds me of hanging out on Discord servers and chatting with anyone on the network, except that CatchUp is only for you and the contacts stored on your phone.

You can download the app from the App Store or Google Play if you want to give it a try. Just keep in mind that it is still in preview, so some features may not always work as expected.

How to use CatchUp

  1. Create a new profile using your device’s phone number. You don’t need the Facebook app to use CatchUp
  2. Tap the switch in the upper right corner of the screen to make yourself “available”. Others will see you listed as “Ready to Talk” and will be able to call you or add you to a group.
  3. To start your call, click Join next to everyone listed in the Ready to Talk section.
  4. If you want to include others in the call, go to your contact list and click “add” next to their name. You can also tap the Privacy icon to customize your group settings and make the conversation open to anyone you can join or keep it private. Up to eight users can participate in a group call at the same time.

Along with calling functions, you can also send completely non-desperate “pokes” to offline users if you want them to know that you are online. Whether they decide to log in and start chatting is up to them.

Under the “Offline” section there is a list of “Contacts”. These are users from your phone contacts who do not have CatchUp installed, but you can click invite to invite them to install it.

Should you use CatchUp?

In a vacuum, CatchUp is a great idea. But I’m not entirely sure why this isn’t just integrated into the main Messenger or WhatsApp apps.

Of course, not having a Facebook account is a plus, but Messenger and WhatsApp can be used without a Facebook account. I also doubt that the invitations and notifications prompt the user to install another application, when the core Facebook Messenger already has a voice, video and text conversations – and now it supports meetings, like Zoom, involving up to 50 people. And Facebook, or a related app, is probably the last thing I’d like to trust with my contact list .

However, there is an app if you feel the need to expand your chatting options. It’s easy to use if you decide to give it a try.

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