Slingshot, which was accidentally released and then recalled by Facebook earlier this month, lets users send self-destructing images but in order to receive and view a photo, the recipient must first send one back. The ‘feature’ is designed to encourage sharing among large groups. It’s also designed to make the app a little less like Snapchat.
“We actually think Slingshot is just a completely different type of product,” said Joey Flynn, Slingshot’s product designer. Since users have to send a shot to receive a image, “it’s half about you expressing yourself and half about nudging the people you’re sharing with to say I also want to hear about you.”
Slingshot was created by an internal initiative at Facebook called Creative Labs. They are supposedly going to be releasing a number of ‘experimental’ apps this year. Facebook has devoted a whopping 10 people to support the Slingshot app and according to Will Ruben, Slingshot’s product manager, “I’m confident that we’ll be able to keep our jobs and iterate on this product for a little while.”
Now there’s confidence for you.
Considering that Facebook tried to buy Snapchat last year for an estimated $3 billion, you have to wonder why they are being so stingy when it comes to developing and supporting in-house apps. If self-destructing messaging services are something that Facebook really believes in then why would they put so little effort into their own products?
Three billion dollars could buy a lot of top-notch programmers and a support staff of more than 10 people. When the product manager of a newly launched app says that he thinks he might be able to keep his job for a little while longer that tells me that upper management at Facebook isn’t giving him a lot of support either.
It seems like Facebook doesn’t have a lot of confidence in its own people. Or maybe Zuckerberg understands his own limitations when it comes to coming up with original product ideas and rather than driving the company forward with innovative products he would rather trust the marketplace to come up with new ideas that he can buy.