What Is Facebook Poke And What Does It Tell Us About The Social Network?

Facebook recently made a quirky addition to its app portfolio. Titled Poke, the app is currently available for the iPhone only. The app let you send ‘pokes’ to your contacts on Facebook. Besides that it also helps you share images, messages and videos with these contacts. The cool part about it is that all the stuff that you send using the poke app gets destroyed after a set time limit which can stretch from 1 to 10 seconds. The user data gets deleted from Facebook’s servers in 2 days. The pokes are encrypted on Facebook’s servers and after 2 days that encryption keys are deleted which renders the user data unreadable.

So what’s with the deleting of messages?

Facebook’s Poke is not an original idea. The idea behind deletion of data after a user has read it comes originally from another hot app called Snapchat which has been making waves across the internet for some time. Snapchat is an app which lets you send messages and images to your Facebook, Phonebook and username contacts. Messages get deleted after a certain time. This seems to be a good way for people to share images and messages without them getting indexed for future access by the recipient, thus making your data a bit more secure.

The interesting bit is that a lot of reports on the Internet suggest that the growth of Snapchat may be due to ‘sexting’, because the concept makes it more easier to go about it. There are surely many more use cases but the ones that come to mind immediately after figuring out the features is that this is an excellent way for people to share stuff and not worry about ‘consequences about data records’ later.

Facebook is competitive:

Snapchat is a small startup which has seen some heavy traction recently. By the end of October, people had used the service to share 1 billion photos on iOS. Facebook wanted to acquire the company but Snapchat turned the offer down because they wanted to be independent. Facebook immediately decided that the feature was too good to miss and immediately started developing their own version. It does look like Facebook is going to go after Snapchat and give it some very stiff competition, given Facebook’s user base. Snapchat has reportedly welcomed the competition.

Facebook Builds Things Fast:

There are reports that Poke was developed in 12 days flat with even Mark Zuckerberg contributing code to the app. Besides being competitive, this shows how fast Facebook works on building things. Facebook as a social network is complex and processes a lot of data being shared all over the world. This development blitz by the Poke team shows that small teams can work very well in a limited amount of time  to deliver products which could be used by a lot of people. Software development as a process has changed for the better since the emergence of a new breed of coders and their ‘agile’ philosophies.

Do you use iOS? Check out the app and let us know what you think of it.

App Download | Facebook Poke

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