Say hello to Slingshot, an upcoming Facebook application being heralded as Facebook's first-ever legitimate competitor to Snapchat. That's right, folks. Your options for quick and discreet photo and video messaging are about to go up by one.
According to the Financial Times, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself is overseeing the project. Slingshot will permit you to send (and then delete) brief video messages to your pals. Furthermore, it will not be tied to any of Facebook's other applications like Facebook Messenger.
This news comes only half a year after Snapchat creators Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy turned down a whopping $3 billion offer from Zuckerberg. According to Forbes, they turned down the offer because the notion of trading such a successful business for "short-term gain" didn't sound all that "interesting."
Slingshot is expected to drop sometime THIS month, though no exact date has been specified yet. All that is known for certain is it will mimic TapTalk, a one-to-one pic & video sharing app that lets you transmit content by simply tapping a contact's profile picture.
This will make Slingshot Facebook's very first view-it-and-forgot-it application. That Facebook decided to do this is not all that surprising given it's recent attempts to gain dominance in the smartphone market. If you recall, Facebook bought Instagram back in early 2012. And it was only a few few months ago that FB purchased WhatsApp.
Plus, this is not Facebook's first foray into Snapchat territory. Back in late 2012, it launched Poke, a messaging application that automatically deleted received messages after a set period of time. Ironically enough, Facebook JUST killed off Poke only days before the announcement of Slingshot, reports PC World.
Facebook clearly wants to gain a better foothold in the smartphone market, but will Slingshot be able to effectively compete with Snapchat, which according to Business Insider commands AT LEAST 30 million active users? CCS Insight mobile analyst Geoff Blaber has his doubts:
"When you're coming to market late and trying to compete with what is already a service with a very large user base, it becomes very difficult to close that gap, even for a company like Facebook."Indeed. The competition for the hearts and minds of everyday Americans (and lots and lots of teens) is steep - so steep that even a publicly held company like Facebook will have to work like mad if it wants to make a dent in the market. Regardless, Slingshot is definitely on its way, so keep your eyes and ears open!