Security

Wickr wants to lure folks away from Snapchat with Android app

Wickr Nico Sell

Above: Wickr co-founder Nico Sell

Image Credit: Meghan Kelly/VentureBeat

Wickr launched on the Android operating system today, promising to keep your information safe from both rogue governments and hackers.

Wickr has true end-to-end encryption, according to chief technology officer Robert Statica while speaking with VentureBeat in an earlier interview, meaning a Wickr message never touches a server in between you and your intended recipient. The company never holds the “keys,” which means only your phone can unlock the message. Lose your phone and you’re out of luck.

In order to avoid any iffy situations if subpoenaed for data, Wickr doesn’t see or store any of your message content or metadata. Furthermore, you can use the app anonymously.

The Android version comes with the same features as the existing iOS app, which Wickr launched with in 2012. You can send self-destructing messages, audio-clips, videos, and images. These messages can be set to destroy themselves after five days or less, making it a little more useful than the hold-and-view options we’ve seen.

Competitors to Wickr include Silent Circle and Snapchat from a privacy standpoint and Whatsapp and Skype from the messaging standpoint. The company wants more than just privacy-oriented folks, however. It hopes to attract people like 14-year-old Snapchat-loving kids sending their weird photos to each other.

When I asked co-founder Nico Sell why someone like my 14-year-old cousin would want to use Wickr, she explained in an e-mail:

You should tell her all the cool kids are using Wickr instead of Snapchat because Wickr has more fun features. You can send text, three pictures at once, 30 seconds of video, and voice messages from your camera or library that last up to five days. Since you can send photos from your library, your selfies can be edited first so you look better.

Hey, I’m down for protected selfies. We all know those can get interesting. The company also has a technology that prevents people from taking screenshots, though nothing is perfect. Someone could always take a picture of their phone’s screen to save the message or photo.

Wickr is free, and you can send messages between iOS and Android devices. It was launched in 2012 and is headquartered in San Francisco.