When off-the-record messenger Confide launched more than a year ago, its main goal was to secure business communications. It started by making a mobile app for ephemeral text messaging and then expanded to include document and photo sharing. Now the company is rolling out a desktop version for both Windows and Mac to help employees share sensitive documents without having to reach for their phone.
Like the mobile version, Confide for desktop allows users to send and receive encrypted messages, documents, and photos. In addition to being encrypted, text is blocked out with Confide’s signature orange censor bars. Users can pull documents and photos directly from Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, and OneDrive into Confide, or drag and drop documents directly from their desktop into a message.
Though Confide’s desktop and mobile versions are mostly the same, the one big difference is that desktop users can see more of their message at one time. For instance, on the mobile version, users have to run their finger along the margin of a message to reveal a text line by line. On desktop, users can mouse over a message to see its entire contents before responding. To hide the message again, users simply have to move the mouse off the message. Once a user replies to a text, the initiating message disappears, both from their inbox and Confide’s servers.
If you’re like many in today’s workforce, you spend the majority of your day fixated on a glowing computer screen rather than on your phone, which makes desktop applications key. For Confide, in addition to moving closer to its goal of providing a paid enterprise service, the desktop launch is also meant to keep the company competitive with other services out there. Another self-destructing messaging app aimed at the business class, Cyber Dust, already has a desktop version. As the brainchild of investor and television personality Mark Cuban, the app also has the benefit of being backed by star power.
But a little competition may not matter much, given the demand for this kind of product. Because of the number of cyber attacks that major companies — including J.P. Morgan, Target, and Sony — have suffered in recent years, more and more businesses are looking for ways to secure internal documents and communications around potential deals. But for Confide, or any ephemeral messaging app that wants to be the default communication platform for the business class, distribution is everything. To make its app more widely available, Confide will be launching a paid business version later this year.
The service will allow businesses to deploy Confide broadly, rather than relying on individuals to download the app. Confide in its current incarnation is free, but Co-founder Jon Brod says the enterprise level Confide will charge companies a monthly fee per-user when it does launch.