Security

NoteShred's new paid features mean the encrypted messaging app might not vanish

Whispering cortto Flickr
Image Credit: cortto/Flickr

The NoteShred web service for creating encrypted messages people can view through ephemeral URLs could stick around for a while. That’s because the guy behind the project, Cheyne Wallace, is now receiving money from people subscribing to a new premium version of the service.

NoteShred is useful as a tool for safely delivering sensitive information like a password, credit card number, or social security number. A user sets a password and a time for a message to self-destruct. Then the service sends the message to the recipient with a password, which the recipient can open by following a link and enterprising the password.

The tool could appeal to those concerned about privacy and unhappy with email and people who can’t necessarily get message recipients to install special messaging apps. It’s high time for a service like this to take off as people flock to ephemeral and encrypted messaging services following leaks about governmental spying through email providers like Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo.

But Wallace could only stand to provide the service free of charge for so long. He quietly started offering the premium tier last weekend, charging $20 a year. People who pay can send as many notes as they want, send attachments as large as 25 MB, and send notes to a group of people.

Now Wallace, who works as an engineer at IT monitoring startup ScriptRock, will see if it’s worth converting NoteShred from a side project into a full-on startup. And so far, things are looking good. The demand is there.

“The sweet spot seems to be small businesses, typically digital agencies or some sort of smaller tech oriented company that needs a way to communicate sensitive information in the simplest form, so even the most technology illiterate people can still use it,” Wallace wrote in an email to VentureBeat.

NoteShred has racked up more than 1,000 users since January. A handful of people have signed up for the premium version.

“Most companies use it how I expect they would, to send server and password details or new account info to new customers,” Wallace wrote.

But that’s not all.

“There is the exception with a few people who appear to be sending recipes and trade cooking secrets. Makes you wonder how amazing these dishes could possibly be,” he wrote.

Wallace doesn’t see encrypted-messaging apps like Hemli and Wickr as competitors, as they require recipients to have the app installed. And apps like Burn Note and Privnote don’t support attachments or auditing, while NoteShred does.

NoteShred uses AES-256 encryption.

Native Android and iOS apps are on the roadmap, Wallace wrote.