Tech News

Facebook’s Clubhouse ‘competitor’ is here, and it’s called Hotline

It was only a matter of time: Facebook today launched an experimental Clubhouse competitor called Hotline, looking to capitalize on the increasingly popular social media format.

As reported by TechCrunch, Hotline was developed by Facebook’s NPE (New Product Experiment) division, which regularly doles out apps with new ideas (or, in this case, not so new). That said, Hotline does have a few features to differentiate itself from Clubhouse and Twitter’s Spaces.

Most notably, it supports video and will allow participants to toggle video when asking a question, although that feature isn’t live yet. Video appears to play a secondary role to audio though, as streams are presented in small circles the size of a profile image, rather than taking up a big chunk of the screen a la Twitch.

Users can opt to only listen in on the conversation, or be active participants, with a strong emphasis on the question and answer aspect. The app is being helmed by Eric Hazzard, who had previously developed the Q&A  app tbh, which was acquired by Facebook in 2017.

Hosts can remove questions and participants from the session, of course. Facebook is also moderating the app in its early days.

It’s also notable that Hotline also automatically records conversations. This can be useful for some types of gatherings, such as podcast-style sessions, but it eliminates the ephemerality and anonymity that is arguably part of Clubhouse’s appeal. TechCrunch describes the app as having more of a professional vibe than Clubhouse’s casual hangouts.

Curiously, users are also currently asked to sign in via Twitter, even though it is a Facebook-designed app.

Facebook’s NPE apps don’t always make a lasting impression, but they allow the company to try out different formats and build features that could eventually make their way to Facebook or Instagram. With Twitter and others joining the fray, we’ll have to see how long Hotline lasts.

If you want to give it a try, you can visit and sign up for the waitlist.

Did you know we have a newsletter all about consumer tech? It’s called Plugged In –
and you can subscribe to it right here.

Published April 8, 2021 — 03:36 UTC

Repost: Original Source and Author Link

Tech News

Facebook Hotline mixes Q&A, Clubhouse, Instagram Live

Clubhouse seems to be the new darling of the social networking world, which means everyone and anyone is trying to copy it if they can’t buy it. Facebook, or at least its CEO Mark Zuckerberg, has already been reported to have expressed intent to develop something to rival Clubhouse and has set its New Product Experimentation (NPE) team to work on a few options. One of those to come out of the woodworks is Hotline and, curiously enough, it may actually be able to stand on its own and not be labeled as a direct Clubhouse clone.

Clubhouse’s popularity comes from its almost anonymous audio-only format, making it easy to hold something like town halls or announcements and have participants chime in with questions or reactions, depending on the format or settings. It is also known for its ease of use and, more importantly, its privacy as sessions aren’t recorded by default, and those that are recorded are clearly marked.

Facebook’s Hotline experiment, on the other hand, only has one of those elements. It does primarily revolve around audio but hosts, which may or may not be the main speaker, have the option to turn on their cameras to show a live video feed in their circular profile. Participants can ask questions which, at least for now, they have to type in and if their question is chosen, the host can pull them onto the stage for one-on-one public interaction.

Unlike the more free-flowing atmosphere of Clubhouse, Hotline is designed more like a Q&A platform, which isn’t surprising given its heritage. Aimed to be more informational than informal, it’s also no surprise that sessions are recorded by default and creators get both MP3 and MP4 recordings after the event.

Overall, Hotline does sound like something that has a role to play in an increasingly virtual world. More than competing with Clubhouse, it sounds more like a competitor to Zoom or Google Meet, given how these are also used for such Q&A purposes. Of course, Facebook still has other Clubhouse-like experiments and it remains to be seen which ones will actually become an actual product.

Repost: Original Source and Author Link