There’s no shortage of apps hoping to the ride the ephemeral messaging wave made popular by Snapchat. But the challenge remains how to offer something different whilst not deviating too far from ‘the need for the Internet need to forget‘.
Last week I wrote about Tapkast, an app that lets you broadcast ephemeral status updates to your friends’ phones, harking back to the early days of Twitter.
Meanwhile, today sees the launch of Boop, a fun take on the self-destructing messaging idea. Namely, messages received via the iOS and Android app are displayed in animation form, one word at a time, plus emoji — a feature that emphasises their ephemeral nature but also makes messages harder to screen capture.
“We believe there’s a huge sweet spot around ephemeral messaging and still a lot to explore in the area,” the app’s co-creator Dave Ganly tells me. “We also believe that giving users a new medium to play in (animated text) and simple tools to do it, gives users a really new, creative way to express themselves in a private way. We make communication much more playful.”
And playful, Boop is.
I had fun conversing with Ganly when asking follow-up questions through the app, even if I can’t exactly remember what he said as the words flashed across my phone’s screen. That is until I discovered there is a toggle that enables you to adjust the animation speed.
You also get to set your username — no real name policy here — whilst a future update will enable you to link Boop to your phone number to make it easier to add contacts via your phone’s existing address book.
“We say we’re the ‘Snapchat for text’ as perhaps Snapchat is the most popular analogue, but Boop is quite a unique proposition,” says Ganly. “Confide does something similar in terms of ephemeral messaging, but we’re the only ones doing it with animation and focusing on young adult segments rather than corporate customers.”
(Update: There’s also Humbug, which appears to have similar functionality to Boop.)
However, with the free app only just launched, it’s obviously still very early days for Boop, which Ganly characterises as a “fun experiment” as much as it is a fully-fledged startup. (He has form creating ‘experimental’ apps, including being one half of the team behind anonymous meme generator Yarrly.)
However, should Boop gain traction, he says there’s already an API in closed beta, which has been used for ‘booping’ the weather and checking iPhone stock at Apple stores in London. “Emoji are implemented as standard, but stickers and sponsored boops are all possible,” he adds.