The Bleep team explains why it originally had to forgo the convenience of offline messaging when it began development: “Without a server to store the messages, we needed a little more time to iron out the details of sending and receiving messages to offline users with the security we can guarantee during real-time chats.” Now, you can use Bleep to send messages to an offline user.
There’s a big problem though: The message is only sent once both users are online again. Because Bleep doesn’t rely on servers, messages live on the device of the sender until a connection is made.
The good news is that full asynchronous offline messaging support is coming. BitTorrent says two parties won’t need to be online at the same time for messages to be delivered.
How will Bleep pull this off? The team plans to use BitTorrent’s distributed tracker:
We will use our Distributed Hash Table (DHT) to store offline messages temporarily until they are received. Given the ephemeral nature of the data that is stored on the DHT, we are adding some mechanisms to keep this data alive until they are retrieved by the receiver. We will explain this in detail when we release the feature in the future.
For those who have never used it, Bleep’s main selling point is offering end-to-end encryption for every message sent through it and ensuring that content is only stored locally on your device. Even better for the privacy-conscious, you can delete your encrypted message history, leaving no trace of conversation behind.
Formerly known as BitTorrent Chat, Bleep was first released in private alpha in July, but only for Windows 7 and Windows 8. A public alpha release followed in September, with apps for Android and OS X.
Other improvements in today’s alpha update include bug fixes for stability, letting users see more of their friends online, reducing data usage (though BitTorrent says Bleep is still not ideal for mobile environments on cellular data), and user interface tweaks. A beta release is coming, though BitTorrent didn’t say when.