Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Facebook Launches Slingshot to Compete With Growing Snapchat Market

The social media giant released an app very similar to SnapChat

By: Caitlin Marceau

Published: June 18th, 2014 in Business » World

It’s official, Facebook has finally released its Slingshot app, which aims to compete with Snapchat. However, while there are some clear advantages to the app, there are also some unexpected drawbacks.

Perhaps the most surprising feature of the app is that users aren’t forced to only send photos and videos to their Facebook friends. Users of Slingshot can send media to SMS contacts or via your phone’s contact list. However the app makes it difficult to see your contacts in one place, the one exception being when you click to send a photo or video.

Another unlikely design is that you don’t need to accept a friendship request to receive content. So long as the person you’re messaging has the app, they don’t need to approve a request for you to send them pictures. Facebook, as reported by Mashable, claims it’s because users can just ignore content they don’t want to view, but it could get annoying if someone you don’t want to speak to is particularly persistent. However, users do get to see a pixelated caption of the photo on their phone before viewing it, and you’re also notified whether others have received the photo too.

A plus for Slingshot is that the camera features seem clearer and more detailed than those of Snapchat. With the ability to select both colour and brush size when editing a picture to send, the experience feels seamless and easy to use. Text that you send to accompany the photos can be enlarged by swiping it down from the banner across the photo. And the camera itself seems to be of a higher quality than Snapchat’s, despite the fact that you can’t zoom with it.

A huge drawback of the app, however, is that in order to see what someone’s sent you, you need to first take a picture to send back to them. The exception to this rule is when you use the “reaction” feature, which captures your reaction to their photo. As put by Mashable, the app essentially holds your photo hostage in order to encourage user communication and engagement.

Although the app has a crisp and polished look to it, Facebook’s Slingshot seems a bit too desperate for users, and user interaction, to be worth the download.

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