Facebook is Taking Cues From Houseparty for Their Own Group Chat App

The Next Web
Houseparty was the group video chat service which rose from the ashes of Meerkat after Twitter essentially steamrolled it to make way for Periscope. Remember Periscope? It took me a minute to even remember what it was called, an excellent example of the breakneck speed of the tech industry (and the ruthlessness).

Since launching, Houseparty has carved out a nice little niche for itself, so much so that Facebook have now taken notice, and are developing their own take on the group video chat formula. The working title is 'Bonfire' and it's only just now being demonstrated to the Facebook staff - the only reason we even know it exists is due to insider chatter. According to the same chatter, it's slated for an autumn release.

It all comes on the heels of the discovery that people don't really like live-streaming to a public audience, they much prefer keeping it limited to closed groups of people that they know will be interested, a trend which is resonated through almost all of social media culture at the moment. Houseparty is doing very well with teenagers at the moment, and that's the target market which tech companies are trampling over each other to reach.

Houseparty is expanding remarkably rapidly, it broke 1 million users in a matter of months, and given the way Facebook have fought tooth and nail to keep Snapchat from getting one over on them, you can understand why figures like that might concern them. The one lesson they seem to have learned is that it makes more sense to develop their own version of the service than acquire the successful one, but a lot will depend on how they integrate Bonfire with their other platforms.

Almost every other platform Facebook have tried to launch independently of Facebook has fallen completely flat. Even when they've taken Facebook features and given them the standalone treatment, it's rarely worked. Messenger is kind of the exception that proves the rule. Here, they're directly competing with an app that already has a dedicated teenage audience, and historically, teenagers take a lot of persuading to come back to the Facebook side of the spectrum.

We don't know how Bonfire will work yet, we just know that it's a Houseparty clone, so it's really down to how they market it. Houseparty are currently in a good position, they have the lead and now they know that Facebook are developing a competitor. Even with all their clout, Facebook are entering a race which has already halfway finished.

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