Facebook has launched a new app called Slingshot. Somewhat similar to Snapchat (which Facebook attempted to buy earlier this year for several billion dollars), Slingshot provides users with a way to send selfies that self-destruct. Is Slingshot a mere Snapchat clone, or does Facebook’s new app offer something fresh? Here’s a rundown of how Snapchat and Slingshot are similar, as well as how these two apps contrast.
1. Slingshot vs. Snapchat: Basic Features
The video above from The Verge goes hands-on with Slingshot.
Both Slingshot and Snapchat facilitate the sharing of videos and images, and both apps have a “self-destruct” feature. The Wall Street Journal notes that there is one key difference between Slingshot and Snapchat:
“Unlike Snapchat, the Slingshot photo and video messaging app forces engagement between users: You can’t see what’s been sent to you unless you send a photo or video in response.”
An interesting feature of Slingshot: you don’t need to have a Facebook account to use the app. You can sign up for Slingshot with your phone number. Another difference: unlike Snapchat, 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 vs. Snapchat: Video Features
The video above offers a demo of the newest Snapchat features from the most recent update.
Last month, Snapchat launched a big update that included the introduction of video features. Snapchat users can enjoy live video calling, as well as text-based conversations. Slingshot also allows users to share videos, though of course Slingshot videos have to be “unlocked” by the recipient sending a new piece of content in order to allow the video to be viewed.
3. Slingshot vs. Snapchat: Special Features
The video above has an interesting report about the accidental, early launch of Slingshot.
For the most part, the feature sets in these two apps are quite similar. While there may be some differences in the way both apps are controlled, the core features are fairly similar across the board. That being said, Snapchat does appear to have the more robust texting features…at least, for now.
There’s another Snapchat benefit to consider, though it’s not exactly a “feature”: the size of its user base. There’s no guarantee all your current Snapchat friends will migrate to Slingshot as well.
If you live outside the US, the choice between Slingshot and Snapchat may have already been made for you. According to the New York Times, while Facebook’s Slingshot app is available in the US, the rest of the world won’t be so lucky. The Times states simply that Slingshot will come along “later in other countries.”
4. Slingshot vs. Snapchat: Sharing Features
The video above offers a glimpse at the “hidden features” of Snapchat.
Slingshot and Snapchat have somewhat different abilities when it comes to sharing your photos and videos with friends.
The Verge writes:
“Slingshot does let you send a shot to just one person, but the app doesn’t really encourage it. Slingshot’s killer feature is its Select All button, a button Snapchat diehards have begged for that lets you send a photo to all of your friends at once. Snapchat has been adamant about leaving out the much-requested feature, and for a good reason. If you give users the ability to select all, they’ll do it all the time, which potentially lessens the importance of every push notification you get. In my experience testing Slingshot this past weekend, I’ve received a ton of notifications. Facebook tells me that in their testing of the app in a much larger group, they might receive dozens of Slingshot notifications per hour.”
In other words, Slingshot is the perfect app for people who want to quickly send an update to all their friends…though people on the receiving end may not be as excited by multiple push notifications each hour.
UPDATE: Not to be outdone, Snapchat has just introduced a feature that lets people at the same event contribute Snaps to the same Story.
5. Slingshot vs. Snapchat: Final Thoughts
As an avid Snapchat user I was skeptical at first but Slingshot's "Select all" & cards UX make it feel like a new type of Newsfeed. Dig it!
— Josh Miller (@joshm) June 17, 2014
If you’re looking for an app that makes it easy to send mass updates to your entire contacts list, or looking for an app that can “force” your friends to chat back at you, it seems likely that Slingshot will appeal to you more than Snapchat will…assuming that all your friends adopt the Slingshot app right away. Given the lackluster reception of other Facebook apps like Poke and Paper, it’s possible Slingshot might wither on the vine.
Forbes notes that Facebook may have created an app with similar features to Snapchat, but that doesn’t guarantee Slingshot can develop a user base that rivals the already-established Snapchat.