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Facebook's Snapchat competitor 'Slingshot' might launch as early as this month

Zuckerberg
Zuckerberg (Image credit: Facebook)

After a spurned attempt to acquire Snapchat for $3 billion last year, Facebook is gearing up to launch its own ephemeral messaging app, internally codenamed "Slingshot". The app, which is said to have a "simple and speedy user interface" (not unlike Snapchat) is designed to take on Snapchat with short video and photo messages that disappear after one viewing. The app has reportedly been in the works for several months, and might launch as early as this month.

While the operation of Snapchat is relatively traditional, Financial Times reports that Slingshot's interface will be even more streamlined:

Slingshot takes a different approach. It is said to resemble TapTalk, a new video-messaging app from Berlin-based Wit Dot Media released last month, in which users tap or hold a contact's profile picture to instantly send a photo or short video, which can be viewed only once by the recipient.

Facebook recently discontinued their standalone Poke and Camera apps for iPhone. They've also launched new apps, like Paper, and separated Messages from the main Facebook app, and promised to launch several more standalone apps that still tie into the Facebook platform.

Unlike Paper which repackages the traditional Facebook feed, and Messages which has been a long-standing feature of Facebook, Slingshot's view-it-and-forget-it model would be a new on for Facebook.

Facebook did recently purchase popular messaging platform WhatsApp for $16 billion, giving them a greater messaging expertise that might be useful in taking on Snapchat.

But the question remains: is a Facebook version of WhatsApp something that's been missing from your life?

Source: Financial Times

Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm, and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.

124 Comments
  • Where is watsapp
  • For real? It's the 4th post on the front page: http://www.wpcentral.com/whatsapp-removed-windows-phone-store
  • Oops thank you ....I just found its Black Box
  • Can any of you put up an article as what are the new features in cyan update in 630? And the changes in the OS in Lumia 630 and the preview for developers?
  • Does anyone of you people actually know what that bloody comments section nuder news is for.. man you people are the cancer of that community
  • Thank you. I swear every time I go to the comments its someone asking a question entirely different to the article.
  • I believe the new list of new features was sent out to everybody using the Slingshot app. You'll have one chance to see them and then they'll be gone.
  • -1020
  • I think u meant to write SnapChat instead of WhatsApp in the last paragraph. I could be wrong.
  • Seriously?!
  • Yes it's going to return with fixes. You should try reading articles.
  • I think it was a "seriously?!" as in "do you not read the homepage?".
  • Ding ding ding.
  • Tio Salamanca? That you?
  • Wow this is my day ...always I comment first
  • You just made yourself sound stupid, seriously.
  • You commented second not including the replies
  • Dude First one is mine too
  • Lol got him !
  • You should just an hero
  • And you couldn't have started with a more stupid question. Next time think and maybe post eighth.
  • Congratulations, you commented first, and no one gives a sh**.
  • Ok, have a lollypop.
  • Windows phone version coming soon! Next year
  • Dem feels.
  • Lol
  • Lol....beginning to lose my hopes on this phone
  • I used to feel like that too.. But now that I've seen what 8.1 looks like, "Duck you Facebook, I'll substitute all your services. I don't need your shirt."
  • If the official slingshot is released before the official snapchat then I'm keeping slingshot and saying goodbye to snapchat. This is getting really tiresome so I'm going to start rewarding apps with my loyalty (to some degree) if they release apps on windows phone first. Obviously updates and quality will play a factor as well
  • Everybody will stay on snapchat anyway... Gonna lose hope for Windows phone too
  • Neither of them will be on WP, I can almost guarantee it. FB haven't even bothered to make their own FB app.
  • Really... Too sad ! :( fb, being a multibillion company, cant hire a few devs to code for wp.. Very sad..
    Even sadder, MS being a bigger company, cant pay fb to bring things like paper to windows phone.. (yes i know they're not supposed to pay, but i think its high time one of these two wakes up and gets stuff here fast)
  • EVEN MORE sad is that MS has quite alot of shares in facebook... just sayin -.-
  • +925. Couldn't have said this better myself. Shame on both of these multibillion companies for not giving us the end user a simple f****ing decent worakble app
  • One thing that I like about Facebook - and that for sure helps them being the biggest and best social network - is that they release apps for all platforms. Even java phones have Facebook app with messaging! Google +, by its turn, for example, only has apps for iPhone and Android, like the world is made by them. Facebook wants to be the biggest and the best, and it gets.
  • Sadly, paper is iOS exclusive, and slingshot wont come to windows phone anytime soon. Besides, windows phone still doesn't have an official fb app. So.. I dont get your point.. (apart from talking about support for java phones)
  • The application is official. It just happens to be produced by Microsoft on their behalf. Facebook's own apps are awful I can assure you.
  • You call the offical apps for IOS and ANDROID awful? are you living in an alternate universe?!?
  • Well I guess I read it somewhere that fb is working on fb for wp
  • I for one, don't care about "official" SnapChat.  6snap works just fine for the rare times that I have use for SnapChat.  That usually happens when my friends text me to say "Do you ever check your SnapChat?".
  • You also have to acknowledge that there is a facebook-owned app in the WP store, which is messenger, and hey, it works great (at least for me). I can't say this service is going to be released at the same time for all platforms, but it will come to WP. So I keep my hopes up for this platform!
  • Wonder how long until a solid third party version comes out.
  • Lol nice typo...snapshat.
  • Also at the end, 'a Facebook version of WhatsApp' should be 'a Facebook version of Snapchat'.
  • Snapshat? haha
  • Teehee.
  • Pretty funny because I snap pics of my shats to mynfriends.
    I have less friends now :|
  • Why not integrate this in Whatsapp?
  • I prefer help snapchat team!!!
    Facebook apps sucks and they dind listen for Windows Phone users! Fuck you - Facebook, slingshot, whatsapp, and instagram BETA...... And on Windows 8, it took 1 half year to release a Facebook official app...
  • Snapchat's not really supporting Windows Phone much better... They don't even have an app
  • Better to have 6SNAP, than have a shit like whatsapp, OR Facebook, that dont have until now :( Rudy for The win!
  • Why doesn't Rudy make a paper type app for Facebook ?
  • The is already a Paper-like app called Booklet. Is in beta right now, but usable.
  • It seems to me that Rudy likes to make apps for services for which we have NO access.  The problem you have is that you don't like the app that is available, but there are plenty of services out there that have NO Windows Phone apps and I like the approach that Rudy is taking.
  • Booklet = Paper for Windows Phone http://booklet.jdbpocketware.com
  • Yea, better to support those who have yet to even release an app for Windows Phone.
  • Snapchat better release an app soon otherwise I'm supporting slingshot and forgetting about snapchat like they forgot about us
  • How will you "support" Slingshot when it's not in WP either?
  • 6snap and 6snap BETA... We dindt need snapshit team
  • Fb inc the worst programmers even worse than google
  • +1520
  • Google ain't that bad man... Brought to you by the Nexus M8
  • Where is WhatsApp hiding?
  • Next to Waldo
  • Leave alone facebook , even whatsapp is missing at the moment.
  • Facebook, just stop...
  • We need a fix to whatsapp, that's what u have to do!!!
  • Any word on the official Facebook App (ie not MS) or a Paper app for Windows Phone? If not who gives a crap about slingshot? If they are not going to bring their primary platforms to WP without MS doing most of the work for them what the heck makes anyone think they will even try to bring a secondary one like slingshot to WP?!
  • The name, is so badass
  • Quite brilliant, actually.
  • Monopolize.
  • Why do they ignore a beautiful OS like WP ??
  • We should ask all the other poorly built official apps the same thing.
  • Maybe is time to change phone OS...and I like this wpthing....
  • Maybe its time for you to go...
    Don't say goodbye - just go.
  • No need to jump down his throat. For all you know there are apps he needs that the companies just haven't published yet. Better to encourage him than to drive him away don't you think?
  • We all can say goodbye... An go
  • Or /watch?v=moSFlvxnbgk
  • Emotional crybaby cause he speaks his opinion . My church just announced an app and of course no WP. Poor horrible support for so many existing official apps. One thing after another. So many broken promises. We all own WP and hope it grows and the growth rate both hardware and app have been very monotone. I have thought many times of going back to Android but keeping my hopes that 2014 will be the spurt that WP needs. Some can't hold out that long to wait and see and so many have been waiting 3 years to hope and see
  • Yes, I've been waiting for a good long time.
    Bought a 920 for me, than my wife.
    Bought a 1020 that it's now with my wife again, and last year bought this awesome 1520. If wasn't for this great phone I had change to Android, and continues to use outlook, Onedrive and others since they support Android well....
    Well, maybe the next phone will get my attention. I really use this for work and l leisure.
    Thanks ladydias and aitt your words.
  • How is the current fb app not official? Just because the development of it has been outsourced doesn't mean it isn't official.
  • It's made by Microsoft and not Facebook inc. who have made Facebook for all the other platforms like Android and IOS. That's why our Facebook is lacking features.
  • It's still an "official" app. It's just outsourced to Microsoft.
  • To be fair, Facebook was involved in the development of the app. But it is true they don't own the app, so the feature set is a little less than that of iOS and Android. The all situation is a lot better, but it could definitely be better. There really is no excuse for these big companies to not have one. Hopefully the universal app platform on 8.1 will really help since they can kill two birds with one stone.
  • The "Cult of Official" never stops and the justifications for it never end.  WhatsApp (when they are available) is "official" and lacks features that WhatsApp makes available on other platforms.  4th&Mayor is NOT official and has features that the official doesn't have on ANY platform.  I don't give a rats arse who makes the app as long as it works and provides the best user experience.  6Tag > Instagram "Official" Beta.  If the "official" company bought the superior 3rd party app and published it as-is, would you all think it was amazing, all of a sudden?
     
  • This is the absolute, mutha fuq'n truth!!!!!!! ^^^
  • AMAZING! ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! IM SO GLAD A FACEBOOK INC APP IS COMING TO WINDOWS PHONE! Oh wait, haha I'm joking. Facebook inc ignores us and leaves us behind just like many big app makers. Its amazing how they don't even make an effort at making a simple Facebook app for WP.. They keep making apps for iPhone and android but WP had nothing. MSFT needs to step up and do something about this problem...
  • They have. They make their app but unlike Google they don't complaint
  • Facebook doesn't actually make the Facebook app. Just sayin'.
  • Who cares?
  • Obviously, tens of millions people who use WP is a small number according to these jokers.
  • They made Facebook messenger
  • Italy investigates mobile app practices at Apple, Google, Amazon http://www.bing.com/r/1A/Um6aX?a=1&m=EN-IN
  • All bitches except Microsoft
  • It seems that Apple did not pay around 1 billion taxes in Italy too.
    And Google declared to tax offices less than a small company...
  • Already covered on both iMore and Android Central :-) We didn't cover it here as it's not to do with Microsoft and Windows Phone.
  • Yeah Microsoft doesn't do such mal practices
  • +1520 Microsoft in Italy employees thousands (?) of super-smart people. Never heard about any problem with taxes (and I am 40 yo...).
  • @Rich you guys write faster than my old and developer-blinded eyes can read :D
  • Hah! We do try. :-)
  • Coming to WP by 2016
  • I never understood the premise of this app. Its like an app made for xenophobes and sexters like who gives a shit? you're not famous. Text me your picture, I'm not gonna download an app just to view your selfie for 5 seconds or something. I wanna come back to it when I wanna see it. I don't exactly know how snchat works but that's how its always explained to me.
  • Ya, I don't get it either. My sister uses it all the time but just for regular pictures, etc. Why not just send picture text messages or use WhatsApp/Facebook Messenger?
  • Same. I've used Snapchat and don't see the point. If you don't want people to save your photos, don't send them in the first place. Job done. It'll soon remove the humorous photos we see online of plonkers sending around silly images.
  • Whatsapp has a Facebook version on other os ?
  • Yes, I am a FB user but have never used snap chat, due to being in an older demographic where it's not very popular... I think this IS what's been missing from my life. :P Of course, being a WP user, it will continue to be missing. Oh well.
  • 6snap. Simple.
  • And better
  • So snapchat with even less privacy?
  • Is this app good?
  • Viewed once by the recipient.. Viewed permanently by Facebook..
  • From where this guy get his money ??
  • It's like politics ... bet by the front painted clown who hears of commands behind the curtain... Simple :)
  • I don't trust Facebook for this. They will use every photo I send.
  • fakebook free for 4 years, & loving it.....
  • Doesn't matter.. They will probably give us WP users the cold shoulder.. *sigh* Guess we shall see though..
  • FB is on the decline so they're throwing the kitchen sink to maintain relevance
  • Facebook is desperately trying to stay in the game. Looks like they are realizing that their business model is weak. Pretty sure nobody will use it.
  • Will never use this.
  • Who cares, I bet they won't launch it for Windows Phone any time soon.
  • I read TapTalk three times, but my mind said TapaTalk. That similarity feels way uncomfortable. Those Germans should consider an other name.
  • Didn't Facebook already attempt a snapchat competitor when the app first blew up a year or so ago?
  • Where is Slingshot for WinPhone? It is out for Android and iOS....
  • Facebook isn't caring about WP users