For most people, the word “ephemeral” brings to mind the thought of careless teens exchanging nude photos via Snapchat. But kids are not the only ones who seek ways to communicate without leaving a trace.
For example, corporate professionals have enough reasons to want to keep their chats private, and that’s exactly the thinking that gave birth to Confide, an ephemeral messaging app aimed at professionals, who can use it to message each other about job references, deal discussions, and other sensitive topics.
Confide is co-founded by Jon Brod, who was a senior executive at AOL, and Howard Lerman, current founder and CEO of Yext. The idea was born after Lerman contacted Brod over email to discuss about a potential employee, but the latter refused to discuss anything in writing, suggesting they speak on the phone instead.
“We were busy and it took us six days to connect,” Brod said. “Professional relationships require tools for impermanence and confidence. We wanted to take the proven model of meeting for an off-the-record cup of coffee and bring it online.”
Because of its ephemeral nature, Confide is bound to be compared with Snapchat, but the similarities end here, as Confide is text-based. “Both Howard and I have had extensive careers, both in startups and Fortune 500 companies and we understood that text is a more important form of communication for professionals than photos,” Brod said.
How Confide works
Assuming that both parties have the Confide app installed on their devices, the sender can type in the text normally and send it. When the recipient opens the message, they will see a screen with blocks over the words.
In order to read the message, they have to swipe just below the blocks to reveal the text hidden beneath – the action reveals only two words at a time.
The idea behind the blocks is to prevent screenshots of more than a couple words – if someone tries to capture the screen, the app deletes the message from the device as well as company’s servers, and immediately notifies the sender. As far as the screenshot is concerned, only a couple of words of the message will be grabbed anyway.
Since Confide is an ephemeral messaging app, it deletes messages when you’re done reading them.
If the recipient of a message hasn’t opened it yet, you can use the app’s “nudge” feature to send them a virtual reminder. The app also provides end-to-end encryption; this means that the company doesn’t have access to your messages in readable form. Hence law enforcement agencies cannot force the company to turn over users’ data.
Confide also integrates with Android email, allowing you to share an email without worrying that the recipient will forward it to someone else. To use the feature, just highlight some text in the email, and you’ll see an option to share it through the app.
As of now, the app is free, although the company says it will eventually charge for additional services.
It should be clear by now that Confide isn’t a Snapchat competitor; it is to the latter what LinkedIn is to Facebook – a professional alternative for enterprise users. Will the app catch on? Well, it’s difficult to say at this point, although with a beautiful interface and practical useful features, it’s worth trying out. You can download it from Google Play and App Store.