Facebook added a new app over the holiday season for messaging.  It’s called Poke, which is also the same name as a function that has been part of the site since the beginning.  It was a way of waving at other users.  The new feature provides complex greetings through either text, photo, or even a short video.

Facebook Poke App

You can see the message by holding it until it goes away.  These messages are only able to be seen for a few seconds and can be shown to either individuals or groups.  This application is supposed to be similar to another app, Snapchat, that has gained popularity in its first year.  Many people feel they are freer to send messages because it is only seen for such a short time.

Right now, Poke is only available on the iPhone as a free downloadable app and is the latest in new Facebook apps geared towards mobile devices.  This is an essential part of Facebook’s future since comScore provided results that showed that users spent more time on the website from their cell phones and tablets than on their computers.

Users can determine how long the message lasts, anywhere from one to ten seconds.  The message must be less than 120 characters, which is perfect for a short comment or joke.  The pokes are encrypted so they are not readable to others and the encryption keys are deleted two days after the message is read.  Any backups of the keys are deleted in another 90 days.

If you are concerned about getting a message that is disturbing, you can report it and block the sender.

This looks like another way Facebook is trying to be competitive with other sites and be the one-stop website for users.  These short Pokes are another way the social website has of providing new methods of interaction between users.

[Image via 9to5mac]