The R&D group of Facebook, the NPE team, has launched new apps several times now, among many others. In February this year, the team launched another such app, called Hobbi which was intended to be an online diary for users, where they could document their projects regularly. The application, although it didn’t fare very well and the company has decided to shut it down for now.
The experimental app Hobbi first came to iOS earlier this year, and users couldn’t refrain from comparing it to Pinterest in a way because of the short-form content floating on it. Over the months, the app has been active, it only had limited download, and all those users have now been informed through a push notification that the app will finally shut down on 10th July 2020.
The app’s immediate shutdown has come after it was reported that it had an estimated download of 7000, and under 10k downloads meant that the app hasn’t been doing very well. In May and June, there were hardly any gains on the number of downloads on the U.S. play store. All users have now been informed about exporting their data, which the app allows.
Facebook’s team behind Hobbi intended to allow users to document their projects over time by using the app as a visual diary. It is also clear that the inspiration for the app came from Pinterest, a similar platform that exists beforehand. Hobbi users could organize their photos of activities like gardening crafts and more while sharing their progress over time. Eventually, the user would have been able to publish the project when it would have been complete.
The idea that Hobbi puts forward is more user-oriented where he/she documents the project and less of a social media experiment. Although, if one were to look at the app in-depth, it hardly has anything to offer except document projects.
Browsing wasn’t a feature of the app, and one couldn’t follow other top users or look at other projects. As experienced by many users, even the tools of documentation were not as one would expect out of an app that is meant for solely that.
Even though Hobbi didn’t do well with the intended audience, this wouldn’t be the first time a tech company experimented with content creation in short form. Google has also earlier launched a video app under Tangi’s name through its R&D team, Area 120.
More and more features are being added to existing platforms to experiment and see how users respond to it. It was noticed that Pinterest was testing the new feature of story pins where users could showcase more content.
Hobbi being shut down is not the worst-case scenario for Facebook because it was informed by the company that the NPE team would be doing many such experiments that could change quickly and shut down. Maybe it didn’t do well. Many other apps, like Meme creator whale, bump, Aux, Tuned, and NPE have launched more since last summer. Only Bump has been shut down before Hobbi.
It is quite clear that Facebook here doesn’t intend to have new social media platforms altogether. Rather the data gathered from the experimental apps would be used to see what kind of features do well with users and eventually introduce them into the mainframe.
Image source: Techcrunch