Facebook releases Poke, its Snapchat clone

poke for facebookEarlier this week, we heard that Facebook was set to introduce its very own Snapchat, the app that allows you to share temporary photos. Now, come week’s end, the social network has announced a clone of the controversial feature with a new product called Poke for iOS.

You probablying remember poking as perhaps the most annoying thing that Facebook allowed you to do – or allowed to be done to you. Now, however, Facebook is resurrecting it and spinning it into a new mechanism that doesn’t just subtly ping you, but sends over a private piece of content with an expiration date.

“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,” says Facebook. “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.”

Snapchat has only just entered our consciousness and already Facebook is capitalizing on the self-destruct messaging trend. Snapchat has risen to the top 10 free apps in the App Store and captured young users’ interest – in some cases, unfortunately so, as we all by now know there are always ways to save those supposedly secure images. (Hint: screen capture is faster than you think).

poke for facebookFacebook makes no attempt to shield this as anything other than a Snapchat clone. You can manipulate photos before sending them, there’s an alert system so you know if someone took a screenshot, and you get the same timing options. Of course, Poke allows you to send more types of media, and there is a group messaging capability. This could be a death sentence for Snapchat, which, despite its popularity and early rise to the top of the App Store, can’t compete with Facebook’s social graph and the inarguable ease of a client that can offer access to (for many of us) nearly all of our connections.

It will be interesting to see if Facebook ends up folding Poke into its proprietary app. Camera and Messenger started out as standalone apps that worked with, but weren’t embedded in, the original app. These two still exist on their own, but now also within the main Facebook mobile app. It’s been Facebook’s mobile strategy thus far, to build out mobile products and eventually weave their features into Facebook proper. Poke will probably receive the same treatment. 

Wearables

Samsung adds One UI and battery boosts to Galaxy Watch and Gear smartwatches

Samsung has updated software for its Galaxy Watch, Gear Sport, and Gear S3 watches to implement its updated and simplified One UI interface. The update also offers new watch faces, battery life improvements, and health and fitness features.
Mobile

The best bezel-less phones cut all the right corners without losing space

As the smartphone industry marches toward a bezel-less future, we compare the shrinking bezels on the latest and greatest devices. Find out which manufacturers have the smallest bezels on their smartphone as we compare them side by side.
Mobile

Motorola One Vision vs. Nokia 7.1: Which is the best budget phone for you?

If you're trying to decide whether the Motorola One Vision or the Nokia 7.1 would be a better buy, then we've got you covered with this comparison. Find out exactly what sets these Android phones apart and which is best for you.
Mobile

New York could dish out fines for texting while crossing the street

Do you text on your phone while crossing the street? The dangers of stepping out in front of a car or bus are obvious, but in New York, offenders could soon face a fine of as much as $250, too.
Social Media

Help wanted: British royal family seeks social media wiz to run its accounts

The British royal family is looking for a social media expert to help it communicate its role and activities to the masses. So if you like the idea of having the Queen as your boss, why not throw your hat in the ring?
Mobile

Realme starts selling phones in the U.K., and its low prices aren’t fiction

Realme, a Chinese smartphone manufacturer from the same group as OnePlus, Vivo, and Oppo, has launched its first device in the U.K. and Europe. The Realme 3 Pro is a competitively priced phone with an impressive specification.
Deals

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4, the best Android tablet in the game, is now $152 off

Apple dominates the tablet market, but others are catching up: The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4, our favorite Android tablet, proves that these devices have what it takes to compete with the iPad Pro -- and it's on sale right now for just $498.
Mobile

The best OnePlus 7 Pro cases to keep your OnePlus in one piece

The OnePlus 7 Pro is OnePlus's latest flagship killer, and it's an incredible phone. But it's expensive, and it's not going to protect itself. Get solid protection in the style you want with the best OnePlus 7 Pro cases.
Android

Here are some common Kindle Fire problems, and how to fix them

Is your Amazon tablet giving you grief? Is it refusing to behave the way you expect? Take a deep breath -- everything will be fine. Here are some widely reported Kindle Fire problems and a few possible solutions to go with them.
Mobile

Unleash your inner artist with the best drawing apps for the iPad Pro

The best drawing apps for the iPad Pro turn Apple's robust tablet into a canvas worthy of a true artist. Here are 20 of our current favorites, whether you're looking to keep things simple or take your art to the next level.
Mobile

FCC chairman and commissioner support the T-Mobile and Sprint merger

T-Mobile and Sprint are getting closer to merging. After a few failed attempts, the two companies announced their merger at the start of 2018. The new T-Mobile could be better positioned to take on the likes of Verizon and AT&T.
Gaming

The best iOS games you can play offline on your iPhone and iPad

Even though we're always glued to our phones, we don't always have access to Wi-Fi or have steady service. Whether you're on a flight, riding the bus, or sitting in a waiting room, you can always play these excellent iOS games.
Mobile

Google’s new $999 augmented reality smartglasses are ready for business

Google unveiled Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2, a new version of its business-focused augmented reality wearable. The company's smartglasses ship with a faster processor, an updated camera, and safety frames from Smith Optics.
Mobile

The Commerce Department implements a temporary reprieve to Huawei

Google has severed most of its partnerships with Huawei, after its addition to the "Entity List" of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Future Huawei devices will lose access to the Google Play Store, Chrome, and Android updates.