Many users of Facebook Inc.’s (NASDAQ:FB) Messenger mobile app discovered a new feature in the latest version, Messenger 6.0, which Facebook released on Thursday for Android and iOS devices.
With the new feature, which closely resembles Snapchat, a photo and video messaging app, users who are friends with one another on Facebook can record and share 15-second video messages, but unlike messages received through Snapchat and the like, these video messages don’t self-destruct.
Video messaging joins a number of other features that have made their way into the Messenger app since its introduction in 2011, including picture messaging, voice chats and group chats.
In addition to the video messaging feature, Messenger users can now “like” a message with a bigger thumbs-up, just by holding down the thumbs-up button.
The inclusion of the video messaging feature in Facebook Messenger 6.0 hints at the possibility that Facebook could release an app specifically to compete with Snapchat, which Facebook is rumored to have named Slingshot.
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The existence of Facebook’s prototype for a Snapchat competitor was accidentally revealed on Monday afternoon after a placeholder page went live on the iTunes App Store. But its public unveiling was short-lived: A few hours later, Slingshot was taken down, Gizmodo reported.
According to image previews of the upcoming Facebook app, Slingshot will allow users to make and send photo and video messages, which can then be drawn on. However, recipients of these messages are then required to send a message back to the original sender before viewing a message in Slingshot.
Facebook tried to compete with Snapchat with its Poke app in 2012, but it pulled the plug on it in May 2014, according to the Verge.