Last week, Facebook accidentally released a new app called “Slingshot” into the iOS App Store and then quickly pulled it. The company teased that the official launch would take place “soon” thereafter, and today that’s exactly what happened.
Facebook has officially taken the wraps off of Slingshot, its new competitor to popular ephemeral messaging app Snapchat. Much like Snapchat, Slingshot allows users to capture photos and videos, write and color on them and then send them to friends.
Slingshot and Snapchat aren’t totally the same, though. One big difference between them is that with Slingshot, after receiving a photo or video from a friend, you must send back an image or clip of your own before you’re allowed to view it.
So why launch Slingshot? Well, Facebook already took one stab at Snapchat with its Poke app for iOS, but it recently pulled it after the app failed to gain traction with users. Facebook likely realizes that Snapchat is big now, and so it’s giving ephemeral messaging another go with Slingshot, which is another way to keep users in its ecosystem.
Slingshot is available now on iOS and will launch on Android later today. The app requires iOS 7 or either Jelly Bean or KitKat. Once it officially hits the Play Store’s virtual shelves, we’ll give you a shout.