Self destructing messages allow people to send confidential messages to each other which, after reading, securely deletes itself, thus keeping the conversation private and eliminating any chance of the message falling into wrong hands. The concept of ephemeral messages gained mainstream popularity after the Tom Cruise starring Hollywood blockbuster “Mission Impossible”. Since then, several self-destructing message apps and services were launched. Let’s see how many of them are around.
Privnote is a free web based service that allows you to send secret notes over the internet. It easy, and requires no password or user registration. Just write your note, and you'll get a link. Then you copy and paste that link into an email or instant message and send to the person who you want to read the note. When that person clicks the link for the first time, they will see the note in their browser, after which the note will automatically self-destruct. The link won't work anymore.
You can optionally choose to be notified when your note is read by leaving your email and a reference for the note. After 30 days all unread notes are automatically deleted.
ReadOnce lets you generate one-time only messages that destroy itself after a certain period of time has elapsed. Besides text message, the sender can upload images, audio and video files as well.
The issue is, the countdown starts even before the page finishes loading completely. Several seconds are lost in the process. If the recipient doesn’t know this is a time-limited message, and opens it in another tab with the intent of reading later, he or she may lose the chance to read the message. It doesn’t help when the maximum allowed time is only 59 seconds.
Cloakmy allows you to send rich text messages, that will auto destruct after they have been clicked and read once. Alternatively, the sender can set a start date and end date, between which the message will remain active. Optionally, you can password protect the message so that no unauthorized person can read it. Of course, you need to communicate the password to your intended recipient, possibly through a secured channel.
NoteDip lets you send simple self destructing messages that can be read only once. Messages can be password protected, and there is an option to receive notification when the message is read.
DUE.IM is yet another self destructing message service. Password protection is available. If the message is not viewed within 24 hours, it is deleted from the system.
Burn Note lets you send messages with a timer that can only be viewed once by the recipient. The timer starts when the recipient opens the note and automatically destroys the Burn Note once they're done reading it. The maximum duration of the timer is 120 seconds.
Burn Note says that all notes are kept in volatile memory and never written to disc. For this reason Burn Notes may be lost if there are service interruptions.
Burn Notes require users registration.
NoteShred’s self destructing notes can be set to destruct after they have been read once, or after a certain number of hours or days have elapsed. The note can also be password protected. If the note is not read within 1 month, it is automatically shredded.
DestructingMessage is a time based self-destructing message service that can keep notes for up to 5 minutes, after which they are deleted. In addition to creating a link to the message and sending the link via email or instant messaging, the service also allows you to directly email the message to any person, thus keeping your own identify a secret.
Photo credit: Self destruct button from Big Stock Photo