facebook will shut down Sparked and collab, two projects from the internal incubator NPE (New Product Experimentation) that had been presented relatively recently. Collab dates back to late 2020, and is (was) meant for creating short TikTok-style but music-themed videos. Sparked, on the other hand, is not even a year old, and could be described as the transposition of the concept of speed dating in the age of video calls.
In summary, in an internal note, Facebook said that the ideas did not take off, and then it’s time to close the project. It is not uncommon – indeed, it is quite the opposite – that the projects born from these incubators end up in this way. Many tech giants allow their employees to dedicate a portion of their work week to any personal projects or ideas. You never know: for many who fail, one that takes off properly is enough to repay, with a lot of interest, all the investment. Furthermore, it is not even said that the time dedicated to failed projects is wasted: it is all intellectual property, which who knows, maybe it will return as part of another completely different product.
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The latter consideration is particularly valid for Sparked: Facebook itself presented it as a relatively small beta test for learn the dynamics and potential of video dating. It worked like this: users were paired with other users whose profiles responded to each other’s needs, and had four minutes to get to know each other via video call. If both agreed, they could access a second appointment, again on video, for ten minutes; and then, in case, decide to meet in person.
Sparked will formally close on January 20, and from that date on it will no longer be possible to download your personal data or access the platform. Collab, on the other hand, will remain in circulation a little longer – it will be removed on March 12. Other projects born internally at NPE and abandoned are Hobbi, a Pinterest-style app for hobbyists, and Lasso, basically a TikTok clone. Currently there are BARS, a kind of TikTok for rappers, and Tuned, a kind of “private space” for couples (the latter seems to have a relatively moderate success). It is good to remember that in general these initiatives arrive only on the App Store, and only in the United States.