Facebook's Snapchat-like Slingshot app launches (again) in US and requires you to play along
Exactly one week after launching on but then abruptly disappearing from Apple's App Store, the new Slingshot app by Facebook is officially available for Android and iOS devices.
Slingshot is like Snapchat. There's no avoiding the similarities. But the team at Facebook Creative Labs said it wanted to build something "where everybody is a creator and nobody is just a spectator", meaning everyone must participate and share awesome experiences. Confused? Well, watch the promo video on the Sling.me website for a bit more information.
When watching the promo video, you'll immediately notice that photos and videos stick around for a moment. This is a catchy feature also found in the popular app Snapchat. Facebook reportedly tried to buy Snapchat several times over the last year, but the two-year-old mobile app supposedly rejected a $3 billion all-cash bid. Facebook therefore built a direct Snapchat competitor, or so it seems.
In an announcement post on the Slingshot blog, Facebook Creative Labs surprisingly mentioned Snapshot: "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."
Slingshot is apparently new and different from Snapchat though, because it lets you share with many people at once and requires engagement from recipients. Simply shoot a photo or video, then add some text and colour, and send (or "sling") it to friends. Your friends won’t be able to see your photo/video (or "shot") until they send something back to you however. So Slingshot is basically Snapchat, with a twist.
Facebook's monthly mobile active users are growing every day. The company therefore said in the past it would take advantage of that booming mobile audience by introducing more apps in 2014. Because it planned to launch a suite of standalone apps, some rumours suggested those apps would focus on contacts and calendar functions. Facebook already debuted an app called Paper earlier this year, which focuses on news, and now it has Slingshot.
Starting today, you can download Slingshot for Android and iOS. The app requires Jelly Bean or KitKat and iOS 7, respectively. It is a free download but limited to people in the US for now. Check out the gallery below for more screenshots.