Aditya MadanapalleNov 10, 2016 10:22:39 IST
Facebook just launched a Snapchat clone made for emerging markets called Flash. Flash is only available in Brazil at the moment. Flash has a camera first home screen, a chat window, and Stories, all extremely similar to the corresponding features on Snapchat. Facebook hopes Flash will compete with Snapchat because it has the advantage of working over low bandwidth internet connections in emerging markets.
Login is seamless if you have a Facebook account. The friends list is populated with Facebook Friends, which makes it easy to add contacts. Unwanted Flashers can be blocked or removed. Flashes can be consolidated into stories. Flashes are ephemeral, like Snapchat, and disappear after consumption. There is no option to forward Flashes to friends as yet. There are a bunch of overlays, or Masks available, that can be selected from the menu below the camera trigger button.
The augmented reality filters do load much faster than Snapchat. However, Snapchat has a wider range of overlays available. The overlays work best in close range with the selfie shooter. The back camera implementation is extremely buggy. Either the app crashes when you switch, or the overlays do not appear at all, and on the rare occasion that it does, the overlay is tracked to the wrong features. For example spectacles may appear over the mouth.
Facebook attempted to buy out Snapchat for $3 bn and failed. Ever since, Facebook has been obsessed with Snapchat. A Facebook made Snapchat clone called Slingshot was first available for iOS users in the United States. Slingshot was then launched on Android, and was available worldwide, including India.
Facebook even attempted to acquire another successful Snapchat clone, Snow, and failed there as well. In Canada and Brazil, Facebook replaced the home screen in the main Facebook app with a Snapchat style camera first home screen. Live augmented reality overlays may be coming to the main Facebook app itself, thanks to the MSQRD acquisition.
Flash does not have the "World Lenses", ambient augmented reality overlays for the surroundings instead of the face, a feature Snapchat just added. The tables have turned with Snapchat copying Facebook in the latest Snapchat update. Snapchat has copied the Instagram Direct feature, allowing users to forward Snaps to friends.
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