Facebook has decided to shut down one of its experimental apps, Hobbi, on July 10. Hobbi was launched in February, with an aim to allow users to keep a visual record of their DIY content. It followed Pinterest’s concept and offered hobbyists to maintain collections of their projects consisting of photos and videos. The app was another experiment developed by a small division under Facebook called the NPE (New Product Experimentation) team.
This move came after the app saw minimal user engagement in the few months it was available on the App Store. The content tracking app saw very little traffic in May and June, with user downloads not crossing 7,000 downloads on the U.S App Store.
In July 2019, the NPE team announced that it would shut down apps that people didn’t find useful and were expecting many failed projects, but would move on to provide more experiences to the people. The creation of the new apps is also reportedly being done to gather data on the features that kept users involved.
Hobbi was launched as the fourth app in the series of experiments by the NPE team. It worked as a record for organisation of activities, with a minimalistic approach and features like addition of notes to indicate the activity’s progress over time. The app only supported viewing the user’s content alone and did not let them browse collections created by other users. Other issues included a lack of advanced tools for documenting the steps of a project.
Since last year, there have been several experimental apps launched by the NPE Team. These include a meme creation app called Whale, a social networking app called Bump, a music streaming app for kids called Aux, and an app designed for couples called Tuned. The recent pandemic did not stop the team from releasing more projects like CatchUp, Collab, Venue, and Forecast.
Facebook does not seem to be alone in the race of experimenting with new ideas. A few weeks before the launch of Hobbi, Google’s team of experimental app developers, Area 120, launched Tangi, an app centred around creative projects and the DIY culture. Both apps seemed to be inspired by Pinterest’s sorted pinboards of photos catering to various categories like music, fashion, and recipes. Pinterest has also began working on a new version of Story Pins to allow people to share ideas and inspire other users on their stories, a format popular on many social media platforms.