Mustbin, the mobile application that began as a secure organizer for personal documents and other information captured by your smartphone’s camera, is today making a larger move to compete in the private mobile messaging space with the launch of Mustbin 2.0. The new app is now offering a solid handful of features that differentiate it from many competitors, including the ability to “un-send” messages, take and store photos that never appear in your phone’s camera roll, as well as the ability to quickly pull in private documents from Mustbin’s included cloud storage service, and more.
The company first introduced a messaging component to its app last year, while adding on another $1.5 million in funding, bringing its total raise to $6 million.
Originally, the company’s idea was to offer a mobile-first secure storage service which included “bins” – meaning, folders – where you would store personal data, like bills, invoices, copies of the cards in your wallet, health information, bank statements, receipts and more. The app includes a variety of workflows that help you capture, record and share various types of files, too.
A number of users today record these sorts of paper-based items using their phone’s camera, but that alone is not an ideal solution because the photos can be difficult to organize and find later in your camera roll, plus they can end up synced to a cloud service, like Apple’s iCloud, which has proven to be vulnerable to hacks.
While useful, however, Mustbin’s secure storage service alone may not have been enough to keep the app competitive with larger cloud services like Google Drive or Dropbox, for example. That’s why it made sense to add in secure messaging feature, which allows users to do something more with their secure files – like sharing them with others via end-to-end encryption.
Now the company is doubling down on secure messaging, with the introduction of a good handful of related features, like “Open-to-View” and “Take It Back.” The former protects your private messages’ content from being viewed by others by way of push notifications – instead, the app simply tells you that you’ve received a secure message. To view it, you have to open the app and enter your PIN. Meanwhile, “Take It Back,” functions as an alternative to “ephemeral” messages, by instead allowing users to take back messages they’ve sent to remove them from others’ devices.
Another option, “Secret Camera,” lets you take photos that never appear in your phone’s camera roll – something that can be used for capturing data and documents, but of course could also be used for photos of a more personal nature.
In addition, users can now more easily share individuals photos or files they’ve already stored on Mustbin without having to share the entire folder (“bin”) with another user. And group chat is supported, too.
These new features are rolling out at a time when there are questions arising about the security of some of the more popular mobile messaging apps, including Whatsapp, which was recently hacked, and Telegram, which was also shown to be vulnerable to security flaws.
Notes Mustbin CEO Satyender Mahajan, in addition to using end-to-end encryption, Mustbin also encrypts content on the device itself. “[Client-side encryption] has always been a hallmark for us…so that, even if someone gets a hold of your device, your data is not leaked,” he says.
But Mustbin is trying to offer this level of security in a way that doesn’t make it seem like a “stuffy” platform, he explains.
“We’re trying to bring a more common sense approach to privacy,” he says, noting that some apps today seem to be designed for the ultra-paranoid. “We think there should be more flexibility there – people are going to want to look back on conversations. They’re going to want to look back on content…but at the same time, we want to create a secure enclave inside your phone,” Mahajan adds.
In the future, the app will also include even more “fun” messaging features, like support for stickers, emoji, GIFs and video, among other things. These could help the company generate revenue, too – today the app offers 8 GB of free storage, but it could also charge for additional storage at some point.
Despite its shift to messaging, the storage component is not going away, says Mahajan. “Storage provides a clear differentiation. There aren’t many people out there who have this sort of blended messaging plus cloud platform,” he says.