Big String is offering web-based IM that is completely secure and self-destructing. This means any message you send will disappear into the ether after it is sent. From the press release:
“Just ask a politician like New York Governor David Paterson, a celebrity like Charlie Sheen, or the American Idol contestant whose private pictures were spread around the Internet against her will. That’s why we created an application that now gives consumers back their privacy and control,” said Darin Myman, President and CEO of BigString.
Presumably you shouldn’t send naked pictures of Charlie Sheen to people in the first place, but that avoids talking about the real value of the service: avoiding censorship in dangerous places and/or IMing from work or insecure places. There is one fatal flaw. Each session can be screen grabbed as it happens. However, since the session occurs entirely in the browser, unless your attacker is obsessive about screen scraping you, you’re almost in the clear.
When you send a message, it disappears after a pre-set interval. That’s right: Big String makes it go up in animated smoke, right on your screen, and the service works in most browsers including Safari and Opera. If you need to do some comparatively untraceable IMing (Lauren: OMG Audrina!!! I found more naked pictures!!!!!! DON’T TELL HEIDI!), the service seems like a good fit.
BigString also offers an AIM plugin that encourages your friends to leave AIM and light up the BigString product to continue the conversation. It’s not quite mil-spec security, but it’s a clever solution to a thorny problem. They also offer Facebook and “exploding email” services, for those so inclined.