The quarantines and lockdowns in place in many countries due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic might be proving a bit of a hindrance for millions of couples who don't live together as they cannot meet each other as a consequence. And if you're one of these lovebirds separated by social distancing, worry not because Facebook has a solution in new a new app built exclusively for couples.
Facebook has released a new messaging app for couples called "Tuned" that allows people to chat, share photos and music as well as have a timeline of shared memories with their significant others. And while they can use calls and video-conferencing services like Zoom, Hangouts and Skype which have become quite popular these days, the new app has an exclusive couple-themed feel to it.
Facebook creates a 'private space' for couples
Created by Facebook's New Product Experimentation (NPE) team, the Tuned app is described as "a private space where you and your significant other can just be yourselves". The app revolves around a scrapbook-like feed where you can shared notes, photos, cards, voice clips and even the songs that you're listening on Spotify. You can even share your mood if you need a quick pick-me-up.
The new app is still in experimental staged and is currently available only on Apple's App Store in the United States and Canada, according to data from industry site Sensor Tower. So, Android users will have to wait a little longer.
App uses Facebook's tainted user data policy
Meanwhile, though the app claims to be a "private space" for couples to chat and share private information, it does not appear to have the end-to-end encryption of services like WhatsApp. Instead, it uses the same data policy as Facebook, which allows the company to collect user data and messages and other details to use for target advertising, so proceed with caution.
That said, the app does not require a Facebook account to sign up, rather you add your partner through their phone number. The fact that it uses the same user data policy as Facebook means most users will be less inclined to send personal information or private photos via the app.
Facebook Dating app
Nonetheless, Facebook did show an interest in the dating apps space and announced its interest in 2018. It has already launched a dating service called Facebook Dating to take on Tinder and Bumble and it is currently available in more than 20 countries. However, Tuned is not related to Facebook Dating and is just a messaging app for couples who are already in a relationship.
Facebook's experimental apps think-tank
Meanwhile, Facebook's NPE division which has created the app was launched last year. It consists of a small team within the company that is tasked with building experimental social media products from scratch. It basically publishes experimental apps to see if they show any traction and if they don't, it pulls the plug on them.
The NPE team has already created a meme-making app, as well as a Pinterest competitor called Hobbi. Neither of the two apps has got any promotional push from Facebook and love from user – in fact, Hobbi has received only one review on the App Store since it was released two months ago and that too with a one-star rating. So, it looks doubtful whether Tuned will get a major push from Facebook. But it is nice to see Facebook come up with such apps and try them out in such times.