Load up your Slingshot: Facebook isn’t ready to quit the evaporating messaging game just yet.
The social-media network is once again taking a shot at Snapchat, this time with another stab at its struggling Slingshot app, the new and improved Slingshot 2.0 (free, available for iOS and Android). Let’s hope it doesn’t face plant like Poke, Facebook’s first and failed foray into the ephemeral mobile messaging market.
Slingshot, reportedly one of Mark Zuckerberg’s pet projects, initially launched back in June to mostly lukewarm reviews. Users’ biggest gripe: Before they could see an incoming message, they had no choice but to send a photo or video reply first. They complained about the clunky, “Reply-to-unlock” time suck so much that Facebook nixed the Snapchat-differentiating feature just two months after the app debuted.
The original vision for Slingshot, according to Facebook’s blog post announcing this week’s app update, was to “create a place where you could share real, raw moments with your friends.” This time around, now that Silicon Valley’s “Big Blue” went back to the drawing board “with an enormous eraser,” the app’s aim is to let people share life's moments in a simple yet enjoyable way. Think Snapchat Stories and you get the picture.
Notable updates include tighter control over your following, full-screen photo and Vine-like video loop sharing (“slinging”) in two taps, five new Instagram-ish photo filters, the Snapchatty ability to draw on pictures and more.
Will all the new bells and whistles be enough to sling frustrated users back to Slingshot and away from Snapchat? We’re not sure, especially because Facebook hasn’t put anything original or particularly innovative forward in this re-release. Maybe: Only time will tell.