Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Facebook to Shut Down Bonfire, Its Group Video Chat App

Casey Newton, the Verge:

Facebook is shutting down a clone of the group video chat app Houseparty, The Verge has learned. Bonfire, which Facebook began testing in the summer of 2017, will stop working sometime this month. The app began testing in Denmark in the fall of 2017, but it never came to the United States.

“In May we’ll be ending support for the Bonfire tests,” Facebook said in a statement. “We’ll incorporate elements of what we learned into other current and future products.”

Josh Constine:

Houseparty’s App Store rank declined #75 a year ago to #327-> it stopped being a threat -> Fb shuts down its clone Bonfire -> group video hangouts becomes just a feature of Insta/Messenger not a new app

Video chat for groups is arguably not enough of a unique feature on which to build an entire business. But Houseparty’s implementation of that is a little different, and I think Constine has the right instincts here: Facebook’s blatant copying is an easy way to bury their competition, and their ability to monitor the success of third-party apps — until recently, through its creepy VPN apps; now, they could conceivably do the same by monitoring the use of SDKs that connect to Facebook — has given the company a unique vantage point to spot what to copy next.