Facebook has launched its new Snapchat and TapTalk competitor, Slingshot. The app isn’t a surprise; a version of it was accidentally posted to the App Store last week.
Slingshot is a photo messaging service that works like Snapchat but the photos and videos have a longer shelf life. Instead of disappearing after a few seconds, Slingshot photos can be revisited until the recipient deletes the feed. Then the photos are gone for good.
Also unlike Snapchat, Slingshot uses curiosity to encourage engagement. It won’t let users see a photo that’s been sent to them by a friend until they respond with another photo. Users can type or draw on top of the photos too.
Facebook made it a point to address Snapchat in its announcement. While Snapchat was inspiration for the new app, Facebook says it saw an opportunity for a slightly different innovation on ephemeral photos:
“We’ve enjoyed using Snapchat to send each other ephemeral messages and expect there to be a variety of apps that explore this new way of sharing,” Facebook writes on its blog. “With Slingshot, we saw an opportunity to create something new and different: a space where you can share everyday moments with lots of people at once.”
Here’s the release, from Facebook:
Today, we’re excited to launch a new app called Slingshot.
With Slingshot, we wanted to build something where everybody is a creator and nobody is just a spectator. When everyone participates, there’s less pressure, more creativity and even the little things in life can turn into awesome shared experiences. This is what Slingshot is all about.
Photos and videos that don’t stick around forever allow for sharing that’s more expressive, raw and spontaneous. We can connect the same way we like to live: in the moment. We’ve enjoyed using Snapchat to send each other ephemeral messages and expect there to be a variety of apps that explore this new way of sharing. With Slingshot, we saw an opportunity to create something new and different: a space where you can share everyday moments with lots of people at once.
To get started on Slingshot, shoot a photo or video. It can be what you’re up to, who you’re with or a quick selfie. Add some text and colour, then sling it to a bunch of friends. Here’s the deal: friends won’t be able to see your shot until they sling something back to you. They can then reply with a reaction — or simply swipe your shot away.
Using Slingshot has made us feel closer, and we can’t wait for others to try it out. It’s the second app from Facebook Creative Labs and is available today starting in the U.S. on iPhone (iOS7) and Android (Jelly Bean and KitKat).
-Will, Joey, Rocky and the rest of the Slingshot Crew
Here’s what the app looks like: