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Facebook launches CatchUp, an experimental app for voice calls

The social media giant tests a new way to make group calls.

- 01:02

Facebook on Tuesday released a group voice-call app called CatchUp. The experimental app aims to make coordinating phone calls with up to eight friends and relatives a little easier. 

"Keeping in touch with friends and family is important, especially during this time of physical distancing," product lead Nikki Shah said in a blog post. "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, which comes from Facebook's New Product Experimentation team, hopes to encourage voice calls by showing when contacts are available to talk with a "ready to talk" status. The app also has the option to set "auto-availability," which will automatically update your status when connected through Bluetooth. The app will also show in-progress group calls that you can choose to join.

Although there are already easy ways to make voice calls using Facebook's WhatsApp and Messenger apps, CatchUp users don't need an existing Facebook account. The app is designed to work with your phone's contact list.

CatchUp is available for iOS and Android users in the US.