Facebook’s NPE Team launches app that focuses on students and music


Facebook introduced a new division this July called the NPE Team. The primary purpose of the team would be to build new apps and features that will allow the company to test new ideas to see how people will react. It also invited former Vine GM Jason Toff to become a part of the team. The team has now launched the first two apps. The first one is Bump, which is a chat app to help make new friends through conversations. Another one is Aux, which is a social music listening app.

Aux is reminiscent of an older company, called Turntable.fm that shut down in 2013. The main idea in Aux is a virtual DJ experience in which people program music, instead of algorithms. This concept became popular with radio stations, which let people control the playlist through their mobile app. Afterwards, streaming music apps, such as Spotify, tried the party playlists. Moreover, many startups also introduced their guest-controlled playlists.

The NPE team’s Aux app is a bit different where the main idea is to introduce people-powered playlists. School-aged kids and teens are the primary target audience of the app, who join a party in the app each day at 9 PM. After that, they choose the song of their choice and compete for “AUX”, so that their song gets played first. In the end, the app selects a winner based on the total number of “claps” received.

The app describes its main purpose as a “DJ for Your School.” This title is a bit confusing because one thinks that there will be music played over the school’s intercom system. However, it’s a social app for kids to use in the evening.

According to the statistics from Sensor Tower, Aux started on August 8, 2019, in Canada and has around 500 downloads on iOS. It isn’t present on Android. Moreover, it ranked No.38 among all Music apps in the App Store on 22 October that points to a short campaign to increase the downloads.

The other new app of the NPE Team is Bump, which helps people to make friends. It is an anonymous chat app, in which the basic idea is to connect people by giving them icebreakers to respond by text. The app doesn’t contain any images or videos in it; chats.

Based on the screenshots from the App Store, the app appears to be for college students. There are questions, like where to find cheap food or “the coolest place” on campus. A sample chat shows roommate or class troubles.

Bump app
Source: Google App Store

Moreover, there is also a dating component to the app because it says that Bump helps people to make a connection by dialogue. The app doesn’t focus on appearances, just on dialogue. It is different from other dating apps, where the person with the most desirable photos gets the most attention.

The different chats in Bump happen in real-time, and you can only use one at a time. There is also a time limit of 30 seconds to respond to messages to keep the chat active. After the conversation, the app asks the person whether he wants to befriend the other person. If both people say yes, they can chat again.

Bump is present on Android and iOS. The app ranked No.252 in Social Networking on the App Store on September 1, 2019. However, it doesn’t have that ranking right now.

The exciting thing is that only Bump mentions in the App Store description that the NPE team is from Facebook. Aux doesn’t mention it. However, both point to an App privacy policy hosted on Facebook.

Facebook’s NPE team has turned out to be a success so far. It’s a new product of the company, just like it introduced Facebook News recently. However, Facebook hasn’t said much about the plans for this team. One thing is clear, and it is that if the NPE Team doesn’t prove to be useful in the future, Facebook may shut it down.


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