Facebook Launches Dedicated Audio Calling App, Even Though Messenger and WhatsApp Both Do That

By Tom Pritchard on at

It never ceases to amaze me at how Facebook manages to churn out random apps that do pointless things, despite a long history of those apps doing atrociously. The latest app, called CatchUp, makes even less sense than normal, however, because it's all focussed around audio calls. Something that everyone can already do on Facebook apps that are actually popular - namely WhatsApp and Messenger.

The app is currently in a testing phase over in the US, available in both Android and iOS app stores. Describing itself thusly:

Catching up has never been this easy. See who’s available and effortlessly join one-on-one and group calls. Never play phone tag or make an appointment to call someone again. Keep in touch more, think about it less. Any time you’re free to talk, CatchUp!

The point of this app seems to be that you have to declare that you're available to talk, which Facebook says is going to encourage people to actually phone each other. Apparently people don't call each other because of uncertainty about whether they're free to talk or not, and definitely not because there are better and easier ways to quickly communicate with one another.

Seems a bit pointless to roll this out as a dedicated app, and one that only allows for one kind of communication - be it solo or in a group. Facebook already has two major services that offer voice calls, and a hell of a lot more, so why on earth couldn't they have added CatchUp's 'available' feature to WhatsApp?

The only real bonus is that you don't need a Facebook account. But then again, neither does your phone's actual phone. And that lets you ring anyone.

So erm, yeah. Good job Facebook. [TechCrunch]