Keeping private messages private may have just gotten a bit easier thanks to BitTorrent’s new messaging service. Known as Bleep, BitTorrent first announced the service last year, when it released alpha versions of its software. Yesterday, the company officially released versions for Android, iOS, Windows, and OS X.
Bleep is hoping to distinguish itself from other messaging services such as WhatsApp, iMessage, and the Facebook app, by offering users better privacy and more control over their data. The service will allow users to sign up using only nicknames if they don't want the company to have access to their personal details.
No Cloud Server To Hack
Bleep is also marketing itself as a more secure alternative to the other messaging services, something users may find particularly attractive following the high-profile hack of several celebrities’ personal iCloud accounts last year. BitTorrent said that kind of attack is not possible with Bleep’s architecture.
“In our implementation, we keep messages and the encryption keys for images stored on your local device, not the cloud,” the company said in a blog post announcing the launch of the service. “For messages and metadata, there is no server for hackers to target and because you hold the keys, images can’t be leaked to haunt you later. We’ve solved serverless peer-to-peer messaging, including the ability to get offline friends your messages when they come back online.”
Despite the fact that Bleep will not store users’ private information, they will still be able to invite friends to the service using the contact details stored on their devices. Users can also invite friends to connect by scanning QC codes, known as Bleep keys.
Like the competing apps on the market, BitTorrent is offering Bleep for free. It is also providing end-to-end encryption of its messages and a native app for all platforms, along with free phone calls. Like the SMS messages, phone calls with Bleep will go through direct connections, so none of the meta-data gets stored in the cloud. Calls will also have end-to-end encryption for security purposes.
It also made a few changes to the new release. Users will now be able to send “whisper” messages using Bleep. Whisper messages are designed to automatically delete themselves from users' devices shortly after they have been viewed, 25 seconds in the case of Bleep. Users can also switch back and forth between Whisper mode and normal mode, allowing them to send images that self-destruct while maintaining text conversations.
Whisper messages will provide additional protection for screenshots. If a friend manages to capture the screen, that person will not be able to capture who said what, since nicknames are blocked out.
If users forget who they're texting with, they can tap the “eye” to display their friends' nicknames, but the conversations become blurred. They can capture the conversations or the senders, but not both at the same time.