While a lot of people have been living on video calls for the past couple of months, there are those that are stressed out by it and would rather just do a voice call. Facebook has released an experimental app called Catch Up which lets you do that and also let your contacts now if you’re available for a quick (or not so quick) call. The app is called CatchUp and is now available for users in the U.S. Of course there’s always your regular voice call or even Messenger’s own voice chat, but Facebook thinks there’s a market out there that will find it useful.
One thing that Facebook found out from their users is that they are sometimes reluctant to place a voice call because they’re not sure if the contact is available or ready to talk. So with the CatchUp app, you will be able to set your status to “Ready to Talk” or if you are not ready to talk, just set it to offline. The voice call feature is also a good way to keep in touch with family and friends without the pressure of a video call.
CatchUp lets you make one-on-one calls as well as group video calls with up to 8 participants. You also just need one tap to make a call and there’s no need to merge calls like with what you do on other phones. You don’t need to have a Facebook account to be able to use it. You’ll just need your phone’s contact lists to add people to the app. The person you’re calling will of course need to have the app but at least they don’t need a Facebook account.
The app was developed by their internal R&D group, the NPE Team, which comes up wit experimental apps that do not have to be connected to the main Facebook app. You also get some privacy features like you can configure which contacts can join on both your 1-on-1 and group calls. However, there’s no end-to-end encryption here.
CatchUp is currently available in the U.S. but is still in the testing period. No news as to when it will roll out for everyone who wants to try it out and if it will roll out to other countries eventually.