It's sort of like Snapchat for the text world

A mobile app called "Strings" is making waves by offering users messages that they can remotely delete if they later regret what they've done.  Sent a drunk text to an ex?  Sent an embarassing selfie to a coworker?  Strings may fix that, if you realize the error of your ways in time.

It's a bit surprising that someone hadn't come up with this yet -- or at least if someone had that it hadn't gotten traction.

Google Inc. (GOOG) famously offered up a humorous "Goggles" extension to its Gmail service to prevent potentially embarassing drunken emails by forcing users to solve logic puzzles and think things over when a rash sounding message was detected.  

But Strings goes well beyond that with the ability to digitally self-destruct messages, and purge your entire profile, even, if need be.

Strings app

In some regards the app's premise resembles that of the incredibly popular picture sharing service "Snapchat", whose messages are tightly controlled and self-delete after a set period of time.  But Strings takes things to the next level in the text world allowing you to remotely retract your ill considered texts.

Created by Edward Balassanian and Damon Ganem, a pair of developers who founded a Seattle, Wash. app incubator called "Be Labs", Strings also bears some resemblance to UK based social network "Ello" who promises users not to monetize with ads or data mining.  Except, unlike Ello who has vague plans to monetize in the distant future with some sort of app platform offering, Strings appears to have literally no way to monetize itself, other than perhaps crowdraising.

Delete image

The founders waxed philosophical in a blog espousing their "10 commandments of sharing":
  1. You need a smartphone and phone number to use Strings. No number, no use.
  2. Your profile is not public. Only people who you add to your contact list can share with you.
  3. The only people who can view your content are the ones you share it with. Add people and remove people anytime.
  4. No one can download or share your content without your approval. Period.
  5. If anyone takes screenshots of your content, Strings will detect it and their account will be suspended.
  6. If you remove yourself from a conversation, anything you said will be removed with you.
  7. If you delete a photo, video or chat that you created, it will be deleted on every participant’s device.
  8. If you delete your account, your photos, videos and comments are deleted forever, on all phones and servers.
  9. What you share will never be analyzed, mined, sold, filed, or otherwise used at your expense.
  10. Strings is free to use and free of advertising.

The bad news for some is that the app is only available for Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iPhone for now.

Now, I'm not quite sure how useful the app would really be as you'd have to have the good sense non-drunkness to realize to use it in the first place, rather than iOS's built-in messaging quiet.  Nonetheless, the Snapchat crowd will likely delight in this app.

Sources: Strings [blog], via Neowin

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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