BlackBerry’s BBM service is still a very large part of the company’s appeal, so how do you continue to keep it afloat when there are other, more popular messaging services available? Make it like Snapchat or, as BlackBerry is calling it, “ultra-private.”
The Waterloo company this week detailed some new features now available in the BBM beta, including the ability to control how long an image exists in your conversation. If you’ve ever used Snapchat, BBM’s new feature will work almost identical, save for a more fancy interface. When sending a photo, you can control how long the recipient can look at it—1 second, 3 seconds, 5 seconds, etc. This, in turn, makes your conversation more discreet, and therefore more private than ever before.
The second thing available in the new BBM beta is the ability to retract a sent message. The idea is to be able to control messages that were sent by mistake. For example, a dirty message you meant for your friend, but was sent to your mom or dad on accident. You can quickly retract the message by simply pressing a button (hopefully) before they’ve even seen what you wrote. That’s pretty clever, and will no doubt be super handy in the event you do accidentally send the wrong message to someone.
The new features are in beta for now, though BlackBerry says they’ll arrive for public release on Android, iOS and BB10 very soon. After its release for Android and iOS, BBM enjoyed a major uptick in usage, but that initial wave of momentum has seemingly declined as people go back to their other favorite chat applications. The ability to set times and retract messages, then, is BlackBerry’s way of trying to shift focus back to its once dominate service.