Where Slingshot failed, can WindUp succeed? Microsoft hopes new messaging app can take on Snapchat


Microsoft has followed Facebook into developing a service that works a lot like Snapchat. 

The new app, called WindUp, lets users send texts, videos, photos and audio that simply disappear after a specified amount of time.

The new service, which was first spotted by Neowin, was developed by the Microsoft Research team. The free app, which first appeared on the Windows Phone app store on August 5, got its name from its intended purpose, which is to "'wind up' your friends as they they race to see what you've posted."   

The report claims that the terms of service for using the app is reasonable. Unlike Snapchat, WindUp does not request permission for location tracking of users. 

After initial reports came out, the Microsoft Research team spoke out to clarify the purpose of the app. The company said that the app is merely a research project, not a full-fledged service that will eat into Snapchat's selfie-snapping customer base. 

"WindUp is a mobile application for research purposes only that enables users to share images, videos, text, and audio snippets for a finite period of time, or for a designated number of views, before the content in question is deleted permanently. The application is designed to enable me and my team to explore patterns of content creation and exchange.  It isn't meant to compete with anyone else's service, and it isn't meant for commercial purposes," Richard Harper, Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, said in a blog post. 

If and when WindUp becomes a full service, it would join the ranks of similar apps that exist to dethrone Snapchat. Facebook, through its Instagram app, recently launched an experimental, Snapchat-like messenger called Bolt. The app, which is currently available in iOS and Android, was initially released in New Zealand, South Africa and Singapore. The Bolt app, which is being sold as a "one tap messaging service," works by turning the faces in a person's contact list into a shutter button. Users can also simply swipe a photo to make it disappear forever. Aside from the upcoming app, there are already Snapchat rivals in circulation. These include services like Mirage, TapTalk and Vine. 

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