TORONTO – It’s not every day that Facebook users get a sneak peak at the social network’s next app – this time it happened by accident.
On Monday Facebook accidentally launched an app called “Slingshot” in the App Store for iOS users. The app, which is now said to be launching “soon,” appeared to be a photo and video messaging tool similar to competitor Snapchat.
“Yesterday, we accidentally released a version of Slingshot, a new app we’re working on,” said a Facebook spokesperson. “With Slingshot, you’ll be able to share everyday moments with lots of people at once. It will be ready soon and we’re excited for you to try it out.”
The app appeared to allow users to draw and add text to their images – just like Snapchat.
However, unlike Snapchat, users can’t see their friends shot until they send something back in return.
“Shoot a photo or video of what you’re up to and sling it to a bunch of friends. They won’t be able to see your shot until they sling something back,” read the prematurely released app’s description, according to a screenshot.
It’s not clear why the app was accidently released.
Snapchat has seen massive success in the mobile messaging category thanks to its dedicated teen user base and its self-destructing messages. Users send over 400 million “snaps” per day, which makes it a fierce competitor for Facebook’s Messenger app.
Although Slingshot was only released to some markets – not in the U.S. or Canada – the app created quite the buzz online due to Facebook’s competitive history with Snapchat.
In December 2012 Facebook released an app called “Poke” that mimicked Snapchat’s self-destructing photo feature in order to compete with the newly released messaging app. But the app tanked and was pulled from the App Store a year later.
In 2013 it was reported that Snapchat turned down a US$3 billion takeover bid from Facebook.
© Shaw Media, 2014