CALIFORNIA – Facebook Inc. is developing its own video-chat app internally known as Slingshot, after its failed attempt to purchase the video and picture messaging app – Snapchat, for $3 billion last year.
According to a report by Financial Times, Mark Zuckerberg is personally supervising development of an “ephemeral messaging” app that could be released as early as this month. As the social networking group is failing to win back users from the popular ephemeral messaging app Snapchat, Facebook has decided to go head to head with them.
The 2-year-old app “Snapchat”, which has sent 400 million send-it-and-forget-it photo and video “snaps”, has grown rapidly in popularity with teens, pulling them away from Facebook. The app is estimated to be used by 9 percent of adult cell phone owners in the US, according to research conducted by Pew. It’s reported that Facebook has been working on the planned video-chat app since several months, which allows users to send short video messages with just a couple of taps of the screen.
Slingshot is not the first time that Facebook has tried to copy Snapchat’s formula. In 2012 it came up with Poke, a similar video-sharing app that copied its rival’s format of photos and videos that disappear up to 10 seconds after viewing. Poke has been removed by Facebook from its app store this month as it failed spectacularly.
“Snapchat over-indexes with the very segment where Facebook has cited falling engagement: teenagers,” said Geoff Blaber, mobile analyst at CCS Insight. “The continued introduction of new services, either organically or by acquisition, is essential to maintaining user engagement.” Slingshot could be launched this month, one paper cited, while cautioning that Facebook might still decide not to proceed with the product.
Predictions signal, Slingshot will be a simple, standalone mobile app separate from the main Facebook app. Slingshot would be the latest effort of Facebook to take on Snapchat after its subsequent acquisition of WhatsApp Messenger, another popular chat app with more than 500m regular users, for an initial outlay of $14.6 billion.