Facebook is trying to take down Snapchat with an app called Slingshot. Learn more about Slingshot and how it compares to Snapchat right here.
1. Slingshot Has a Few Key Differences From Snapchat
— Adweek (@Adweek) June 17, 2014
As we noted in our rundown of the differences between Snapchat and Slingshot, these similar apps do have a couple of notable points of contrast.
One notable difference is the way that Slingshot requires a level of reciprocity. You can send a video or image to a friend. However, before they can view your message, your friend will need to send a message in return. The idea is that this Facebook-made app is more likely to get users engaged in dialogue, rather than in one-off communications.
Additionally, Slingshot allows you to save images to your phone (though you do have to access the app settings to turn on this feature.)
2. Slingshot Made by Facebook’s Creative Labs
The video above from The Verge can give you a great look at this app in action.
Slingshot is a Facebook-made app, but it was made by a small, 10-person team under the Facebook Creative Labs umbrella. The New York Times notes:
“Slingshot is a product of the company’s Creative Labs initiative. The labs are essentially an incubator for new apps and ideas that might or might not be closely related to the core Facebook service.
Slingshot emerged from a three-day hackathon held last December to generate ideas for Creative Labs to pursue.”
3. Facebook Accidentally Launched Slingshot Early
— Fast Company (@FastCompany) June 17, 2014
Mashable notes that Facebook accidentally launched Slingshot earlier than planned. After pulling the app, Slingshot had its proper release on Tuesday, June 17.
Mashable adds that Facebook is far from the only company to accidentally release an app before the scheduled launch date. Other apps that have had unscheduled early launches include the Android version of BlackBerry Messenger and the DoubleFine game Middle Managers of Justice.
4. Facebook Created Slingshot After Failing to Buy Snapchat
Learn more about Slingshot in the video above.
Last year, Facebook attempted to buy Snapchat outright. Snapchat was reportedly offered $3 billion to become a Facebook-owned product, but turned down the social networking giant’s offer.
Forbes has referred to Snapchat’s dismissal of the offer as a “possibly ghastly mistake” in the wake of the Slingshot app launch. Forbes adds:
“Snapchat has, for the moment, at least, a loyal and expanding user base.
Facebook might be able to copy the functionality, but are they going to be able to capture that user base? If they cannot then Snapchat perhaps didn’t make a mistake: if they can then we might think that they did.”
5. Slingshot Must Resist the Facebook App Curse
— Slingshot (@slingshotcrew) June 17, 2014
Facebook has a history of launching apps (like Poke or Paper) that are slow to find a user base. It’s not clear what kind of success threshold Slingshot will need to pass in order to be a viable app for Facebook.
Wired‘s Christina Bonnington writes:
“Slingshot…represents Facebook’s latest attempt to break up the components of its online platform into separate, single-serving mobile apps, a la Google. There’s Facebook Messenger, for chatting; Facebook’s Paper, for reading and discovering new content; Facebook, for staying up to date on friend’s activities and sharing your own; and the failed Facebook Poke and Facebook Camera apps (now replaced by Instagram).
With Slingshot, Facebook obviously hopes to target the youthful masses who shun The Social Network for newer alternatives. But will it instead just add to the confusion of an already bloated messaging network?”