The recently launched Facebook Hobbi app, an experiment to create short-form content for personal projects, hobbies and other Pinterest content, is already closed. The app was first launched on iOS in February as one of several launches by Facebook's internal R&D group, the NPE team.
Hobbi users have now been notified via push notification that the app will shutdown on July 10, 2020. With the app, users can export their data from their settings.
In the few months it was live in the US App Store, Hobbi has received only 7,000 downloads, according to estimates from Sensor Tower. Apptopia also reported that the app had fewer than 10,000 downloads and saw minimal growth in May and June.
Although Hobbi was clearly based on Pinterest, it was not intended as a pin board with inspiring ideas. Instead, hobbi users organized photos of their projects – such as gardening, cooking, handicrafts, decor, and more – in a kind of visual diary. The goal was to photograph the progress of the project over time and add text as needed to describe the steps.
The end result would be a highlight of all the steps that could be published externally after the project is completed.
But Hobbi was a pretty bare-bones app. There was no alternative but to document your own projects. You couldn't browse and view projects other users had created, except for a few examples, and you couldn't follow the top users across the service. And even the documentation tools were underdeveloped. Except for a special "Notes" field to write down the steps of a project, the app experience felt like a watered down version of stories.
Facebook wasn't the only one to track the potential of creative content in a nutshell. Google's internal research and development group, Area 120, also published its own experiment in this area with the Tangi video app. And Pinterest was recently discovered while testing a new version of Story Pins that allows users to present DIY and creative content in a similar way.
It is not surprising that Hobbi wears off so quickly given his lack of traction. Facebook already said that its NPE team experiments would include apps that would change very quickly and shut down if consumers didn't find them useful.
In addition to Hobbi, the NPE team has launched a number of apps since last summer, including Meme Creator Whale, conversation app Bump, music app Aux, couple app Tuned, Apple Watch App Kit, audio call app CatchUp, Collaborative Music App Collab, live event companion venue and forecasting app forecast. Before Hobbi, Bump was the only one to shut down. (Some of them don't live in the US either.)
Of course, Facebook may not intend to use these experiments to create a range of completely new social apps that were built from scratch. Instead, an attempt is likely to be made to collect data about what features appeal to users and how different creation tools are used. This is data that can influence the development of functions for the most important Facebook apps such as Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram.
We asked Facebook for a comment, but one wasn't available at the time of publication.