Confide: an app for execs who want sensitive messages to vanish Snapchat-style (GigaOM, 8 Jan 2014) – Many people associate “disappear” apps like Snapchat with young people who want to send each other bong or boob shots. But kids are hardly the only ones who want to relay sensitive or silly messages without leaving a permanent trace on the internet. That’s the thinking behind “ Confide ,” a new app aimed at professionals who want to message each other about job references, corporate intrigue or other subjects that could cause trouble if a written record landed before HR or the legal department. Messages sent via Confide disappear on reading and can’t be retrieved later. Available for Apple devices as of January 8, Confide is the brainchild of Jon Brod, a co-founder of local news site Patch, and Howard Lerman, the CEO of marketing start-up Yext. Brod says the app came about after Lerman contacted him by email about a potential employee who Brod did not want to discuss in writing. He suggested they speak by phone instead. “We’re busy and it took us six days to connect,” he said in a phone interview, explaining why they created the app. “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.” To address the issue of screenshots, which can provide a way to preserve disappearing messages, Confide uses a “wand” feature that requires recipients to pass their fingers over the message to reveal additional words. The app also includes a notice feature, common among other disappear apps, that alerts the sender if the recipient took a screenshot of the message. Confide also includes another feature that might appeal to paranoid executives: end-to-end encryption that means Confide doesn’t possess a retrievable copy of the message. As for the possibility that professionals could use Confide to skirt legal duties (such as by-laws that require them to preserve corporate communications), Brod said the app is simply a platform and that it would be up to individuals to comply with their obligations.
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