Messaging apps are so numerous it takes a good research to choose the one that would suit you. One of the downsides of the niche is when you have to use it, you often face the inevitability of using the one that is most used among your social circle – at work, school, among your friends. Hence, you often end up with something that doesn’t meet your requirements. In most cases, this is true about the privacy-minded users who are a bit more tech-savvy than their numerous friends and colleagues.
Edward Snowden rolled the privacy snowball down the road, and the app developers caught the trend – now we have a choice of privacy and security-focused mobile and web/ desktop apps for encrypted and secure messaging. CryptoCat is one of the veterans of the industry while Telegram is a relative newcomer with nonetheless awesome features that let you share large files and make calls. Enter Bleep.
Bleep [Android, iOS, Mac, Windows] Free
Developer: BitTorrent, Inc.
Bleep is a new player on the market of secure messaging apps and it comes from a renowned BitTorrent Inc., a peer-to-peer service used by millions of people worldwide to share large files like the movies. There has been and probably still is a lot of controversy on how the company handles the Hollywood lobby attacks on the movie piracy, but today we want to take a look at their messaging app.
Bleep has no cloud. Instead, it harnesses the power of BitTorrent’s peer-to-peer network to transfer messages directly. The developers say it was a tough challenge, and the Beta version of the app launched about a year ago. The company was working on user feedback and fine-tuning the user experience, and now BitTorrent think the app is ready for prime time.
Bleep does not bite the dust feature-wise – you can text, make free voice calls and send self-destructing messages to other Bleep users. Since the app is cross-platform and is available for iOS, Android, Mac and Windows, it significantly widens the potential audience.
No, as for now there is no video calling feature, but the privacy-paranoid would not want to use it anyway. If it’s fun and stickers that you’re after – go with Line and leave the adults tend to their serious stuff like privacy.
The self-destructing messages are dubbed whispering, and the messages sent via the whisper feature, images and text, get deleted after 25 seconds upon arrival. There does not seem to be an anti-screenshot protection.
The welcome feature is you do not need to create an account with Bleep – just download the app and choose yourself a nickname. From there, you can merge your address-book with Bleep, or skip the step and invite your friends one by one. You can do so by using their phone number, email address or Bleep QR code. Alternatively, you can have them share their public key. It’s pretty neat for the folks who love to go incognito.
The messages are encrypted, stored locally and easy to delete.
There are quite a few bugs, though. The UI may be confusing at times, and there does not seem to be a way to delete contacts. The app seems to crash when the device is in the landscape mode.
These minor bugs will no doubt be ironed out within the next few updates, but I want to see the app go open source and get an independent audit. When the developer community says there are no back doors, I’ll be the first to make all my friends and family use it. Until then, it’s another great app with potential that leaves a few questions unanswered.