Some time ago, you might remember that Facebook tried – and failed – to purchase Snapchat, with the little service that could choosing to go it alone, rather than become part of a big machine like Facebook. Since then, Snapchat has only gotten better, with recent updates putting the 'chat' into the service with video calling and disappearing IM conversations.Unsurprisingly, we've heard that Facebook was working on their own competitor to Snapchat, dubbed Slingshot. Just recently, it appears someone at Facebook pulled the trigger a little early on Slingshot's release, as the app was pushed to the iTunes App Store before it was quickly taken down.
In that short space of time however, The Verge had managed to grab screenshots and get a look at the promotional material for Slingshot. As you might have guessed, Slingshot is to work a lot like Snapchat, with photos being sent back and forth between friends. The app seems to be controlled by swipes and gestures like Snapchat, as you can swipe through all of your photos you receive from friends as well as draw and add text to shots before you send them. Where Slingshot becomes a little different however, is the fact that users must "sling" a "shot" back before they can "unlock" a message sent to them. We're guessing that the idea here is to encourage people to keep messages flowing back and forth and get users that otherwise wouldn't take part to get started with the service.
Facebook reached out to The Verge to say the launch was in fact an accident and said that the app would be ready "soon". Slingshot is created by Facebook's Creative Labs team, the same team behind the iOS app, Paper, as such there's a concern that the app would launch as an iOS exclusive, but we have to doubt this as Snapchat's success is perhaps because so many users have access to it. When Slingshot does take off properly, we'll take a closer look at it, in the mean time you can take a look at some promo shots in the gallery below.