Apps News: Facebook’s Hobbi App Lets You
Facebook’s year-old New Product Experimentation (NPE) division, where developers are tasked with building unique and experimental tools, has released its fourth app, according to The Information. Called Hobbi, the new app, as its name suggests, allows users to document and keep tabs on the progress of their personal projects or hobbies.
Hobbi App Key Points
Pinterest's progress in the social shopping market could steal Instagram's thunder, so Facebook launched Hobbi to counter its growth. However, Hobbi faces several challenges.First, Pinterest has a clear first mover advantage in the virtual pinboard space. Other platforms, like Alphabet's Google Collections, failed to pull users away from Pinterest. Second, Facebook is approaching Hobbi as an New Product Experimentation (NPE) project instead of a full-blown effort to copy Pinterest. It previously stated that its NPE products would "change very rapidly and will be shut down if we learn that they're not useful to people" -- so Hobbi's days could already be numbered.
Facebook's previous copycat projects also yielded mixed results. Lasso failed to gain any ground against TikTok, Facebook Dating hasn't throttled Tinder's growth, Messenger's in-app ecosystem remains much smaller than WeChat's, and Instagram still hasn't killed Snapchat, despite causing it some headaches in 2018.
Lastly, Facebook's brand has been tarnished by high-profile security and privacy breaches in recent years. Pinterest also faced problems with data breaches before, but it doesn't store as much personal data and hasn't been stigmatized like Facebook yet.
Hobbi was released first in Colombia, Belgium, Spain, and Ukraine, according to The Information; we found it in the App Store on a US-based phone Thursday evening. It’s compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices running iOS 11.0 or later.
It's a vote of confidence for Pinterest
Hobbi will likely suffer the same fate as Lasso and Facebook's other half-baked projects. Oscar Wilde once claimed that "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness" -- so Facebook's decision to clone Pinterest should be considered a vote of confidence instead of an imminent threat. Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Leo Sun owns shares of Facebook, Snap Inc., and Tencent Holdings. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Facebook, Match Group, Pinterest, and Tencent Holdings. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.