Monday, December 24, 2012

The truth behind Poke's notification sound, and the app's data storage

In response to the Snapchat iOS and Android apps, which were rapidly becoming viral, Facebook released an iOS Poke app on Friday. Where did the somewhat goofy and eclectic Poke notification sound come from, though? It came from the mouth of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Although he originally recorded the sound on his phone as a joke, he was later convinced to run the snippet through audio filters and allow it become the notification sound for the Poke app. The notification can be heard here.

Not only that, Zuckerberg participated in the project in ways past just audio. He wrote code for the rushed app, which apparently took a mere 12 days to code.

The swiftness of app creation may show in the ratings at the iOS App Store. Currently the app has only a three-star rating. It's also quite obvious to end users that the idea behind the app was to get something out -- quickly -- so that Facebook didn't end up with another huge acquisition (a la Instagram).

For example, one comment at the App Store, by Micah Wilson, says:
Huge ripoff of snapchat! Good app but why try and copy what already exists? Make something original. I think I'll stick with snapchat at least until this goes big.
Poke may never go big if SnapChat has anything to say about it. Snapchat also exists for both iOS and Android, and Facebook is still missing a Poke Android app.

The idea behind Snapchat is being able to share photos with friends and family. More than that, though, the most important feature is being able to specify how long each photo is viewable by the recipient(s), up to ten seconds. In other words, you send images that expire, along with optional captions.

Poke goes further in that it adds video and message support. It's got the same sort of expiration support, right up to the maximum ten second limit. For those wondering about what Facebook does with the images, considering that the company is frequently harangued for privacy concerns, the company only stores the data for two days.

Why even store them for that long? The reason is in case anyone reports you for offending them, such as something Brett Favre might do to a sideline report. Facebook can see if the accusations are true. While it deletes the encryption keys after two days, it's possible to recover the keys and information for up to 90 days. After that point, it's impossible.

Facebook also said it's trying to reduce that 90-day timeframe.

When Poke came out, some said they would stick with Snapchat as they were concerned Facebook would save their information. So, Poke users, does that make you feel better?

No comments: