Facebook has a reputation of acquiring emerging social media apps it deems to be posing a threat to its business, and even cloning their unique features once negotiations fail, Snapchat being the most popular of them, but it now seems group video chat app Houseparty is also getting the social media giant’s attention. According to a recent report, which cited an insider as the source of the details, Facebook is building a standalone app for live group video chats that borrows heavily from Houseparty. Called Bonfire, the app is said to be slated for launch by the fall of this year after going through beta testing with the company’s employees recently.
The Houseparty app was launched in September of last year following the departure of Meerkat, a once popular live streaming app that eventually succumbed to fierce competition from the likes of Twitter-owned Periscope. Ben Rubin, co-founder of Meerkat and developer Life On Air, cited poor adoption as the reason for abandoning the app. Then Life On Air switched to group video chat from live streaming and introduced Houseparty. The app is designed to connect close communities through multi-user video chats by notifying a user’s list of friends once they open the app so that the party gets started. Like Snapchat, Houseparty instantly became a hit among teenagers, contrary to initial reactions that the service would eventually collapse like its predecessor. In fact, Houseparty gained more than a million of users shortly after it was rolled out in the U.S.
Observing Houseparty’s remarkable success in the group video chat segment, Facebook now looks to clone the app, though no additional details are immediately available as of this time. Moreover, the party does not stop there. The report also states that Facebook is working on developing another standalone video app called Talk, which would connect younger users with their grandparents. Like Bonfire, Talk has also been reportedly demonstrated to Facebook employees. Again, information about these upcoming apps, if they can make it, is scarce at the moment, but more details about Facebook’s new projects are likely to surface over the coming weeks and months ahead.