Facebook's New Snapchat Feature
The company started by launching Slingshot, a Snapchat-style image/messaging app that requires users to send back an image before they can open one they've received. When the app was released on June 17, Facebook issued a statement about its creation:
"With Slingshot, we wanted to build something where everybody is a creator and nobody is just a spectator," the company wrote. "When everyone participates, there's less pressure, more creativity and even the little things in life can turn into awesome shared experiences. This is what Slingshot is all about."
The Verge referred to Slingshot as "much more than a Snapchat clone," but positive reviews have not been enough to lure new users. According to Mashable, the Android version was downloaded between 100,000 and 500,000 times. That represents less than 0.0005 percent of Facebook's entire user base.
Thus, Facebook has gone back to the drawing board and is experimenting with another way to compete with Snapchat. The company's latest attempt is a new Instagram app called Bolt.
More Apps, More Comparisons
Bolt is a single-tap messaging app that allows users to send an image or a video to one friend at a time. The image disappears once it has been viewed. This makes it sound like a Snapchat clone, but it may have more in common with another messaging app: Taptalk.
Not every company can get away with taking cues from its competitors, but Longboard Asset Management PM and CEO Cole Wilcox thinks that it has made Facebook even stronger.
"You look at the numbers, and it's making them stronger in terms of better user engagement and advertising revenue and things like that," Wilcox told Benzinga.
"I think those are all positives," said Bhatia. "It just shows that Facebook continues to test different things. As large as they are, they gotta keep running as fast as they can. We like them. We like the changes."
Bolt is currently available in New Zealand, Singapore and South Africa. Facebook plans to launch the app in other markets in the near future.
Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.
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