The recently launched Facebook app, Hobbi, an experience creating shortened content around personal projects, hobbies and other Pinterest-y content, is already being closed. The application arrived on iOS for the first time in February as one of the many launches of Facebook’s internal R&D group, the NPE team.
Hobbi users have now been notified by push notification that the application will close on July 10, 2020. The application allows users to export their data from its settings.
In the few months it went live on the U.S. App Store, Hobbi gained only 7,000 downloads, according to estimates by Sensor Tower. Apptopia also reported that the app had fewer than 10,000 downloads and recorded minimal gains in May and June.
Although Hobbi is clearly inspired by Pinterest, it was not intended to be an array of inspiring ideas. Instead, Hobbi users would organize photos of their projects – like gardening, cooking, crafts, decorating, etc. – in a visual journal somehow. The objective was to photograph the progress of the project over time, adding text to describe the steps, if necessary.
The end result would be a highlight of all these steps which could be published externally once the project is finished.
But Hobbi was a fairly simple application. There was nothing to do but document your own projects. You could not browse and watch projects created by other users, beyond a few examples, nor follow the best users of the service. And even the documentation tools were underdeveloped. Beyond a special “Notes” field to note the stages of a project, the application experience looked like a watered-down version of Stories.
Facebook was not alone in harnessing the potential of short creative content. Google’s internal R&D group, Area 120, has also published its own experience in this area with the Tangi video application. And Pinterest was recently spotted testing a new version of Story Pins, which would allow users to present creative and DIY content in a similar fashion.
It’s not surprising to see Hobbi slowing down so quickly, given his lack of traction. Facebook has previously stated that its experiences with the NPE team would involve apps that would change very quickly and stop if consumers did not find them useful.
In addition to Hobbi, the NPE team has launched a number of applications since last summer, including the creator of meme Whale, the conversational application Bump, the musical application Aux, the coupled couples application, the kit Apple Watch application, CatchUp audio call application, Collab collaborative music application, companion to the live location event and forecast forecast application. Before Hobbi, the only one to have closed was Bump. (Some do not live in the United States either.)
Of course, Facebook may not be planning to use these experiences to create a whole new set of social apps designed from the ground up. Instead, it is probably looking to collect data about the features that resonate with users and how the different authoring tools are used. This is data that can inform the development of Facebook functionality for its main set of applications, such as Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram.
We contacted Facebook for comments, but none had been provided at the time of publication.