Facebook’s Slingshot has been competing with popular ephemeral app Snapchat for almost two months now. The concept behind the apps is pretty much the same: share a short-lived video or photo with one or more people. No-editing–the point is for the experience to be more conversational. Though Slingshot is in many ways just like its competitor, the twist on this app is that users must share a video or photo before the app allows them to see what others have sent.
Slingshot has recently been updated to allows users to react to reactions to shared items. In a blogpost announcing the new update, Facebook wrote, “We’ve heard (and seen) how much people love reacting to shots in their feed. So why should the fun end after one reaction? Today we’re excited to announce that …you can reply to any reaction with a photo, video or text.” This feature is unique in its promotion of easy conversational flow.
Facebook also added a feature called “My People” that allows user to more easily find friend on Slingshot. “[N]ow you can see everyone you’re slinging with in one place at any time,” Facebook wrote. “We’ve made finding Facebook friends and phone contacts who are also using the app more reliable.” What’s interesting about this is that “My People” is really the only feature that connects Slingshot with Facebook. Other than that, the service is in no way connected to Facebook. It isn’t even being marketed with the company’s branding. The reason for this choice, said product designer Joey Flynn, is that “[w]e want it to start with a small group.” The decision ties in to Facebook’s strategy to link back its apps to the social network and its services.