Facebook is just not willing to lose in video messaging apps to anyone, and for this reason, it is launching another Snapchat clone. This will be just another ephemeral standalone picture and video messaging app with face-distorting masks, making it almost identical to Snapchat, reports Recode.
Facebook desperate to beat Snapchat
Facebook had already tried to come up with a legitimate Snapchat competitor twice but failed both times. Poke was the first failure, while Slingshot was the second. However, this time, the company has something different to offer with the new app called Flash, says Recode.
Flash has been created by Facebook’s growth team, which is targeting users in emerging markets where Wi-Fi is scarce and connectivity is weak. Flash is less than 25 MB in size or one-third the size of Snapchat’s Android app on Google’s new Pixel phone. Facebook’s core app on the same phone is 54 MB (app sizes usually differ by device and software version).
Facebook’s latest attempt does indicate that it is really serious about beating Snapchat to emerging markets where it lacks a stranglehold on potential users. Since Facebook entered the game late, it might not be able to win over American teens, however, as Snapchat already has 60 million daily users in the U.S. and Canada, notes Recode.
Facebook launched the app on Android late Tuesday in its first market, Brazil, and plans to bring it other markets soon. Scope exists for Facebook’s Flash app in countries such as Indonesia, Brazil and India.
Facebook’s new feature to turn you into a painter
Facebook is also adding a feature that adapts users video to the style of renowned painters such as Pablo Picasso or Vincent Van Gogh or a handful of others. The move was announced at the Web Summit conference in Lisbon, Portugal on Tuesday by Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer. Users will be able to pick an artist style from the preset options.
Facebook’s new feature is the result of progress made in the field of artificial intelligence. In particular, this feature embodies an approach called neural networks, a concept inspired by human brains. AI software to bring a painter’s style to photos first emerged in an academic paper in 2015, and the launch of the Prisma app popularized the concept further.
For all the heavy computational work, the feature initially relied on central servers, but now the Prisma app will run on phone processors and is getting video support too, says CNET.