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Behold, The SnapChat Clone Wars Have Begun

A new backend as service API lets you build your ephemeral messaging tools for work or play.

Behold, The SnapChat Clone Wars Have Begun
[Image: Flickr user Petras Gagilas]

In a post-privacy world, ephemeral messaging and encrypted conversations are becoming a pervasive communications trend that’s likely going to stick around for a good long while, especially considering the flagrant omission of updated cybersecurity recommendations in President Obama’s surveillance speech last Friday.

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PingPal is a Swedish company that’s been playing in this ephemeral communication arena for a few years now, but it has recently rolled out more of its promised features. It released a chat app for iPhone on January 10, mostly intended as a demo for the backend’s partially realized potential. An off-the-record messaging service not dissimilar to Gryphn, Wickr, Silent Circle, Confide, or the grab bag of other messaging apps, PingPal has a lightweight interface for encrypted group chats.

But PingPal’s API is its true utility, allowing anyone to build an ephemeral messaging app without re-inventing the wheel. For example, an Uber clone calld PingCab, developed during a PingPal hackathon, works the same way as the popular livery apps–except it wipes all the location and communication info after the passenger is dropped off, for privacy’s sake.

A Platform as as Service or mobile Backend as a Service allows PingPal to do the backend heavy lifting for developers, ensuring impregnability and scalability for client apps and automating the self-destructing messaging feature. What’s more, PingPal will offer VoIP and positioning dialogues for voice and location services. As much of this data as possible is kept off of their servers, pushing the information directly to the recipient’s phone instead.

PingPal is pushing itself as the ubiquitous enterprise solution for companies to build secure mobile and web apps off of; some sample code and additional documentation is available on GitHub and the PingPal website. It would like to thank the NSA for its efforts to pioneer the way for a market like PingPal to exist in the first place.

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