Facebook already had a Snapchat competitor on the market, called Poke, but it failed to take off and Mark Zuckerberg called it “a one day project,” which didn’t mean much in terms of resources and was mainly done as a joke.
This time, Facebook aren’t in the mood for jokes and have built an actual competitor to Snapchat, called Slingshot. The app was pre-released and then taken off the app store a few hours later, panning any surprise announcement.
Slingshot is available on iOS and Android and allows users to send photos and short-videos to friends. The difference between Snapchat is users will not be able to see the image or video until they send their own back, almost forcing the conversation to happen.
This sort of functionality allows user’s to continuously send photos and videos, in order to keep the chat going. We are not sure how this will work for fans of Snapchat and Facebook has also made no efforts to tell user’s when one of their photos is screenshot.
Other differences between Snapchat and Slingshot include Slingshot keeping the message until the user swipes it away. This means unlike Snapchat, there is no time limit to make sure images and videos are swept away.
Facebook might think Slingshot has a chance of beating Snapchat, but the truth is like Twitter and Instagram, once the core audience enjoys the service they are unlikely to move to another, simply because friends won’t follow or it doesn’t offer the same functionality.
Slingshot looks nice, but Snapchat has all of the user’s and offers more privacy. Facebook might be bitter about not getting the $3 billion deal they wanted with Snapchat, instead going for a $16 billion deal with WhatsApp, but we don’t think cloning Snapchat is going to do them any favors.