Facebook has released a standalone mobile application called Poke, which gives users a new way to chat with friends.
Though Facebook's poke feature has been around since 2004, the app brings a "new poke experience for mobile," the company said in a blog post. The app lets you send Facebook friends photo, video, or text messages that expire after a few seconds.
"You can poke an individual friend or several at once," Facebook explained. "Each message expires after a specific time you've set, either 1, 3, 5, or 10 seconds. When time runs out, the message disappears from the app."
The release confirms a report from AllThingsD last week that said the social-networking giant was planning to launch its own "Snapchat-like" app. Snapchat, which launched for iOS devices in September 2011, lets users send photo, video, text, or even hand-drawn messages to friends that last for only a few seconds.
With Snapchat, users set a time limit for how long the recipient can view the message, up to 10 seconds, before it's wiped from the app. Snapchat has gained popularity over the past year, but garnered some controversy with some saying it's a tool for sexting.
Facebook's app functions much of the same way as Snapchat. Users can "poke" one friend in particular, or send the message to multiple people. Users can specify their location when sending a message, and see when a recipient takes a screenshot. After receiving a poke, users simply press and hold the person's name to view the message.
At this point, the app is only available for iOS devices. Those with an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch can download Poke for free from the App Store.