The rumors didn’t lie; Facebook just unveiled its Snapchat competitor, Poke. I use the word competitor loosely, of course — it’s pretty much a total rip-off.
“With the Poke app, you can poke or send a message, photo, or video to Facebook friends to share what you’re up to in a lightweight way. You can poke an individual friend or several at once. 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,” Facebook announced. Sound familiar?
Snapchat does the same thing. Facebook, however, is a far more powerful brand and has the opportunity to potentially crush Snapchat if it really wanted to. Plus, Facebook’s Poke app has a far cleaner UI judging by the screenshots. Snapchat’s UI is horrific, although since its primary demographic is teens between 16-25 years of age, stellar design gains very few advantage points in this competition.
Personally, I don’t see the appeal of Poke or Snapchat. My view is this: if you’re sending me a photo that you only want me to see/keep for 10 seconds at most, it’s probably not worth viewing at all. The only practical advantage it has is not wasting space on your phone like regular MMS photos do, albeit a very small amount.
Facebook’s Poke app for iPhone is available in the App Store. It will be interesting to see if/how Snapchat innovates to stay ahead. I’d imagine an Android app should follow shortly after the iOS release.