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Snapchat Wins in Battle Against Facebook’s Poke

January 2, 2013

By Gilbert Falso :: 12:55 PM

SnapChat PokeSnapchat, the smartphone app that allows users to shoot and send short photos and videos with a limited viewing window has been a hit on Apple’s App Store, ranking in the top 10 applications over the past few months. The appeal is in the short-lived nature of the images – they can only be seen by the recipient for a few seconds (up to 10), and the sender controls how long.

Not one to be left behind, Facebook saw how quickly the Snapchat app took off, and jumped on the bandwagon itself, releasing its Poke application with great fanfare last month. However shortly after Poke released, it seemed as if the hoopla died down pretty quickly. If anything, the interest that Poke’s release generated actually sent users in search of the original app, Snapchat. Snapchat is currently ranked number 4 in the App Store, and Poke hasn’t even cracked the top 100 apps leader board.

Snapchat came about in 2011, created by Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, two 20-something creatives living in Los Angeles. Taking an obvious stab at Instagram in a blog post last fall, they said, “it’s not all about fancy vacations, sushi dinners, or beautiful sunsets. Sometimes it’s an inside joke, a silly face, or greetings from a pet fish. Great conversations are magical. That’s because they are shared, enjoyed but not saved.”

Although usage of the app has jumped sharply - in December 50 million images were shared every day, a rise from October’s 20 million – the company has yet to generate any revenue. Now, despite the popularity, questions are beginning to appear about the true fleeting nature of the shared images on both services.

If a recipient tries to take a screen capture of the image they have received, both Snapchat and Poke will alert the sender. However, tech-savvy users can beat the applications. By connecting phones to a computer and running the files through a program such as iFunBox, users can retrieve sent images before the application displays them. They are then able to save them off to view however long they want – as well as pass them along to others.

Spiegel was quoted in Buzzfeed saying that “there will always be a way to reverse engineer technology products.” The company is working on a way to address the security breach. In addition, Facebook has reached out to Poke users and reminded them to consider what they’re sending with the application.