Microsoft latest to mimic Snapchat with new Skype Qik ephemeral video messaging app

Microsoft has just joined the ranks of companies looking to capitalize on the success of ephemeral messaging apps like Snapchat. Through its Skype division, the company has launched a new cross-platform app for iOS, Android, and (of course) Windows Phone called Skype Qik. The premise of the application, as can be seen in the video above and screenshots below, is simple: you can record a quick video, and then share it to either one person in your address book or multiple groups of people.

By default, videos will expire after two weeks, and you can also un-send messages at any time. A cool feature of Skype Qik is the ability to pre-record various 5 second GIFs that you can send as instant replies. So, if you don’t have the ability to send a live video reply, you can just choose one of your pre-record defaults. The app is free today on the aforementioned platforms, and Microsoft says that updates, such as one for blocking iPhone contacts (that feature is available today on Android and Windows Phone), will come often to enhance the feature-set.

You can view some screenshots of the Android app in action below:

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Models suing Snapchat behind sexualized Google search results

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Two sisters, Sarah and Elizabeth Turner are currently suing Evan Spiegel, the co-founder of the popular photo messaging app Snapchat. They’re claiming that when you perform a Google search for the term “Snapchat sluts” (definitely not safe for work) their pictures come up in the results. The sisters are also claiming that in 2011 Spiegel approached them in hopes of using their likeness to promote a new mobile application that he was developing called “Picaboo.”

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Path launches new Talk app, a privacy-focused standalone messaging app

The private social network Path updated its Android app today with a simpler chooser for posting content and a tabbed navigation bar for moving around the app. It’s biggest feature, though, follows a growing trend with mobile apps: Path Messaging has moved to a standalone app called Talk that’s rolling out today.

With its new Talk app, Path wants to replace SMS and Facebook as it focuses on privacy with a feature called Off the Record. While it’s not quite as ephemeral as instantly self-destructing messaging app like Snapchat and Cyber Dust, Path promises its users that messages sent via Talk automatically erase from the social network’s servers after 24 hours from sending the message…

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Snapchat updated with video chats and instant messaging

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Snapchat received a massive update today that introduces video chats and instant messaging. As for those of you concerned about privacy, don’t worry, self-destructing messages aren’t going anywhere. Users can swipe to the right on a contact’s name in their inbox to start a regular chat. Whenever you leave a session, messages viewed by you and the other participant will be cleared, however both of you will have the option to screenshot anything you’d like to save.

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Instagram announces Instagram Direct: photo and video sharing to private groups

During its press event held in New York City today, Instagram announced a new sharing feature called Instagram Direct that will allow users to share images and videos to other users privately.

The new sharing model will require users to follow each other to send photos and messages privately to individuals or groups of up to 15 people. A pending requests inbox will catch photos and messages from users who are not mutually connected.

Instagram also noted its growth from 80 million users to 150 million users worldwide from the start of 2013 to today. Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram, also boasted that over half of Instagram’s users use the service daily…

Instagram on its new Direct feature:

From how you capture photos and videos to the way you start conversations through likes and comments, we built Instagram Direct to feel natural to the Instagram experience you already know. When you open Instagram, you’ll now see a new icon in the top right corner of your home feed. Tap it to open your inbox where you’ll see photos and videos that people have sent to you. To send a photo or video to specific people, tap the camera button to enter the same simple photo or video capture and editing screens. At the top of the share screen, you’ll see the option to share with your followers (“Followers”) or to send to specific people (“Direct”). To send using Direct, tap the names of the people you want to send your photo or video to, write your caption, tap “send” and you’re done.

After sending, you’ll be able to find out who’s seen your photo or video, see who’s liked it and watch your recipients commenting in real time as the conversation unfolds.

Instagram Direct will be available in Instagram 5.0 for Android on the Play Store today.