Snapchat is one of the most popular mobile apps, with more than 400 million messages sent daily. Now Facebook wants a piece of the action and is reportedly developing Slingshot, a new video app to rival Snapchat. The social media company was interested in purchasing Snapchat for $3 billion, but Snapchat rejected the offer in a move that shocked industry insiders. Undaunted, Facebook has turned to Slingshot. Slingshot has been reportedly in the works for several months.
Slingshot allows users to create video messages they can send to their friends. The process is rumored to resemble a setup similar to that of TapTalk. Users can tap the pictures of their friends list, and then see the friend a short video message meant for only their eyes. Slingshot would use the same timed-deletion technology Snapchat uses. The development of the app solidifies Facebook’s domination in the mobile world, especially after acquiring Instagram for $1 billion and Whatsapp for $19 billion. Financial Times (subscription required) reported that Mark Zuckerberg was personally overseeing Slingshot’s development.
Snapchat is especially popular with teens, and many are leaving Facebook. In January 2014, Mashable reported Facebook had 25% fewer teens using the social network than in 2011. Facebook obviously hopes to regain some of their young user base with Slingshot, luring them away from Snapchat. The company already removed their Snapchat clone apps, Poke and Facebook Camera, 4from the Apple iTunes store earlier this month. Poke offered a lot of the same features as Snapchat, with a self-destructing feature, but failed to capture the audience Snapchat maintained. Facebook also is forcing users of its iOS and Android apps to download the Facebook Messenger app to chat on mobile devices this month. With all these changes to dominate the messaging and video world, however, Facebook isn’t the only tech company angling for a piece of the market. Yahoo recently purchased Blink, a Snapchat competitor this month and is moving the app’s team to work at the Yahoo headquarters. Technology experts are unsure as to how the Blink team will be used by Yahoo, only that the workers will help Yahoo develop “smart communication products.”
The Financial Times article cited several individuals who were involved in Slingshot’s development, but Facebook has yet to comment. Snapchat recently added ‘Chat, text and picture message features to their own app, and it’ll be interesting to see how Slingshot fares if it’s released. The “ephemeral messaging” app would also compete with another popular video app, Vine, which has more than 40 million registered users and recently announced a message option. If Facebook decides to release Slingshot, many believe it may be within the month, giving connected teens and adults a new playground for video and messaging.