The tired but still competitive cliché, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em," sometimes applies in business. But in Silicon Valley, the mantra often looks more like, "If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em."
If that doesn't work out, as in the case of Facebook and Snapchat, then the alternative is to beat the competition at their own game.
That appears to be playing out this week as Facebook just unveiled the second project from the social network's Creative Labs department.
Dubbed Slingshot, the standalone mobile app is another method for sharing digital pictures with multiple people at once.
The Slingshot crew acknowledged the existence, to say the least, of Snapchat in a blog post on Tuesday while pitching a key difference with Slingshot:
Photos and videos that don’t stick around forever allow for sharing that’s more expressive, raw and spontaneous. We can connect the same way we like to live: in the moment. We’ve enjoyed using Snapchat to send each other ephemeral messages and expect there to be a variety of apps that explore this new way of sharing. With Slingshot, we saw an opportunity to create something new and different: a space where you can share everyday moments with lots of people at once.
Perhaps as a security reassurance or simply to encourage mobile users to be more engaged, the team added that other Slingshot users also "won’t be able to see your shot until they sling something back to you."
Slingshot is available to download for free immediately in the United States. It is supported on devices running iOS 7 and Android (Jelly Bean and KitKat).
To recall, the first Facebook Creative Labs project, a Flipboard-like news reader app that so far is still available only for iPhone.
Images via Facebook