Mark Zuckerberg and the rest of the gang at Facebook finally launched a photo and video sharing app to compete with Snapchat. Called "Slingshot," Facebook's version is more than just a clone, though it may appear as such at first glance. After all, it allows you to take a photo or video, scribble some artistic flair on top of it, add a caption, and then fling it to a recipient. However, Slingshot is unique from Snapchat -- and every other messaging app -- in that you can't view a "shot" until you send one back.
"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," the Slingshot crew explained in a blog post announcing the app's release.
It's an interesting twist that represents outside-the-box thinking, but how it will be received is another story. Some news outlets are already expressing frustration with not being able to immediately view a shot before returning one in kind, and that's a fair reaction. But if the teenage crowd finds the gimmick fun, Slingshot could become the next fad. Right now it's too early to tell.
On Google Play, Slingshot has a 4 out of 5 star rating based on 252 reviews, and on iTunes, it has the same rating based on 212 reviews. Here's a look at a couple of reviews that represent opposite ends of the spectrum:
"Awful concept. My friends sent a ton of pictures and I had to take pictures of random things just so that I can unlock them. And they had to do the same... It turned out being a back and forth thing that quickly got old," a user wrote on Google Play.
"Instead of simply copying Snapchat, Facebook has essentially created a never ending stream of content. This is because of their system, where photos or videos can only be viewed after you send one back, which boosts content from your friends. It's a great service and I am looking forward to more of my friends joining," a user wrote on iTunes.
Facebook may need to be flexible and ultimately remove the viewing restriction if the majority reject the idea. And if you're Snapchat, you hope they do, lest you end up regretting that you turned down reported $1 billion and $3 billion buyout offers from Facebook.