Facebook once attempted to acquire Snapchat for $3 billion, however, the offer was turned down, and that's reason why a new app only known as Slingshot exists today. It is Facebook's answer to Snapchat that should not be considered as a complete clone of Snapchat.
This isn't the first time Facebook created an app that is designed to compete with Snapchat. The company made the first attempt back in 2012, which failed, thus paving the way for Facebook to approach Snapchat for an acquisition, which also failed.
The new app is similar to Snapchat in many ways as the main selling point here is sending short-lived images and videos to friends. However, Facebook took a different route with Slingshot that is quite interesting, and also a bit odd.
When a user sends an image, the receiving party is required to send something back before they can view the content. This forces users to share images themselves instead of just being a spectator, according to Facebook.
"With Slingshot, we wanted to build something where everybody is a creator and nobody is just a spectator," says the Slingshot Crew in a blog post. "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."
While forcing users to participate seems like a good idea at first, it is quite easy to break the rules. If a person sends another an image of them in a coffee shop, that person is probably expecting the receiving party to send an image of themselves to unlock the first image. Well, the receiving party could simply send an image of a pencil, which adds nothing to the conversation.
Slingshot has some similarities to Paper, in that it comes from the same developer at Facebook, Creative Labs. Furthermore, we understand that the idea for Slingshot was born from a recent Facebook Hackathon, but we won't say it all came from Snapchat.
When users launch the app for the first time, it will require them to create an account, along with adding their mobile phone number. Once done, Slingshot fires up the device camera to allow the user to take a photo or record a video with a length of up to 15 seconds.
Similar to Snapchat, users can add doodles and text to their image and video content. Whenever a doodle is added, music is played in the background, and it doesn't appear if there's a way to turn it off. Those who might want to turn it off should consider switching their device to silent mode.
Furthermore, Slingshot users can tag their videos and images with their location before sending. This can't be done in Snapchat, at least not yet. Interestingly enough, Slingshot allows users to save image and videos received in the camera-roll automatically. However, this is not turned on by default.
Slingshot is available right now for both Android and iOS. Windows Phone might have to wait a little longer, but it all depends on whether or not Slingshot is a success.