Facebook Launches Snapchat like Slingshot; Available only in US for now

After launching its own email service four years back, Facebook has now launched new iOS and Android app named Slingshot to rival Snapchat app. The newly launched app allows the users to sign up for the service with their mobile phone number and connect with friends in their phone’s contact list without requiring Facebook accounts. Currently, the app is available in the US for iOS and Android devices.

Also, it allows users to exchange disappearing photos and videos with text or drawings to another person. 

Earlier, Facebook had launched stickers for web users and acquired speech recognition and translation app Jibbigo.

Also Read: Facebook throws in towel on Facebook Messenger for windows

The Nextweb says: The app was born during a Creative Labs hackathon in December. And while it borrows features from other well known apps like Vine (videos loop), Instagram (the videos can be up to 15 seconds long), and disappearing images like Snapchat, it presents them in a fun package.

But the app is cannonballing into a crowded pool of messaging services. Being a Facebook product doesn’t offer any real advantage. The social network’s Snapchat clone, Poke was pulled from the app store in May along with Facebook’s Camera app.

Product Manager, Will Ruben says that the app was built “purely out of excitement about the idea.” Facebook is hoping that excitement carries over to user engagement.

Tech First Post says: Photos on Slingshot disappear from users’ phones shortly after they are viewed, reflecting a growing anxiety about privacy in the age of Internet social networking.

Facebook’s release of Slingshot comes as a new crop of mobile messaging services gain popularity and threaten to draw younger users away from Facebook’s 1.28 billion-user social network.

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Snapchat, an app that lets users send messages that automatically disappear after a few seconds, turned down a $3 billion acquisition offer from Facebook last year, according to media reports at the time.

Mashable says: Facebook has taken an interest in ephemeral messaging for years. In January, a Forbes cover story detailed a 2012 meeting between Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckeberg in which Zuckerberg threatened to crush Snapchat with Poke. One year later, Spiegel turned down a $3 billion acquisition offer from Zuckerberg after Poke failed to live up to Zuckerberg’s promises.

Slingshot is the latest in what is becoming a robust collection of standalone apps owned by Facebook. Zuckerberg promised investors more standalone apps in January, and he has lived up to his word thus far in 2014. Facebook acquired messaging app WhatsApp in February, and has released two apps of its own in Slingshot and the news reader app Paper, which it unveiled in January.

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