Snapchat asked and answered the question of whether self destructing photos had any wide-scale purpose in society. But what about text? Erik Graf, a developer that has worked on Stockholm-based Guidepal founded his own company with his cousin Thomas Graf, called Textwave, to work on this sort of ephemeral text messaging for Android and iOS. "The project started as a reaction to the fact that Facebook and all of the big companies store all of their users information. Our goal is to create a platform where people can be open and say whatever they want to each other," says Erik Graf.
The way the app works is similar to any other messaging app. You sign up through your email and add friends by their email or phone number. But once you start texting, instead of seeing a backlog of messages, you just get sent a text bubble that slowly floats up the screen and out of existence. Despite the fact that in this current iteration you have to confirm your email address, Graf says they still had an overall conversion rate of 80% from download to verification.
There's already a few competitors in this space, including Confide (which blacks out the words CIA document style), and Frankly, which does text and photos, which slowly get more and more pixelated out of existence. In comparison Textwave looks like a nice lightweight competitor.
Is there a need for self-destructing texts? The beautiful thing about Snapchat was that photos sent through apps and services like Whatsapp and Facebook felt "heavy". Once you were sent a photo, it was stuck with you forever, taking up space in your conversation, and too permanent to send just a picture of something happening in the moment - like a quick shot of your beer to signify to your friends you're at the bar.
By lowering the friction of sending pictures, Snapchat was onto something. But the friction for text is pretty low, and Textwave's value proposition has to be the "don't track me" angle, or the "why do you need this conversation saved" angle. There's gotta be something there; I'm very happy that I don't have a two-way record of my conversations as an awkward teenager, and I almost pity the kids of today who do. Today, I suppose there's really no need to save most of my text messages - they're all pretty banal.
When asked about any updates to the app, and the question of Snapchat-style messaging, Graf tells us, "We are definitely thinking about adding more features to the app. For example, in our latest update we added a group chat function which our users had been requesting. We have realized that the thing that makes us unique is our UI that combines the level of privacy we want with a fun and efficient way of messaging. So everything that fits within that framework is possible. We are definitely considering adding a photo sharing function."