Facebook was recently reported to be working on a new “ephemeral messaging” app similar to Snapchat, allowing users to send short video messages very easily.
Dubbed Slingshot, the app is understood to resemble Taptalk, the video-messaging app from Berlin-based Wit Dot Media. In Taptalk, users tap or hold a contact’s profile picture to instantly send a photo or short video. This can be seen only once by the recipient.
TechCrunch understands the company has already raised a $1 million seed round from undisclosed investors, and is now in active talks with West Coast US VCs because of the Facebook rumor.
Indeed, Facebook’s engineers are understood to be “all over” Taptalk, say sources.
A large amount of Facebook employees have been using Taptalk since it opened up its beta in March, and it’s understood that the Slingshot app will look almost exactly like Taptalk.
The app has gotten a lot of attention in tech circles for its simplicity. In Taptalk the top part of the app always shows a live image. You just tap on a profile picture once to send and image to that person. If you hold and release you send a video. You can add text by tapping on the bottom right of the screen prior to sending a video or photo.
New message alerts take you to a video or picture and the sender’s location (this function can be disabled). This gives it a ‘visual walkie talkie’ feel.
The speed of the app means there are no re-takes, no filters, etc., so it’s very quick. You cannot send the same video or picture to a few people at the same time, making it more personal and authentic, and less prone to social over-sharing.
In part because of the rumor about a Facebook clone, we understand Taptalk user numbers are skyrocketing.
Facebook tried to take on Snapchat before, in December 2012 with Poke, but failed miserably.
Many observers believe Facebook needs a Snapchat-like app to appeal to teenagers who are going cold on the service in favour of messaging apps.