The trend toward ephemeral messaging is gaining even more steam, after private social network Path announced that its users will get the ability to have their messages disappear after a specific time has elapsed, starting next week.
"To further improve your privacy when messaging on Path, all messages will become 24 hour ephemeral starting June 11th," according to an internal message from the company to its users, which many discovered on Friday.
On Path's support page detailing the change, it adds:
This means that all new messages will be automatically removed from our servers 24 hours after being sent, including your old messages. All messages downloaded from our servers will be kept on your device until you log out, uninstall or update to a new version of Path.
Path's announcement is particularly interesting because the app, which had 10 million users in 2013, was designed from the ground up to be a private social network exclusively for users' close friends and family. Injecting a privacy-centric feature into such a closed, trust-reliant social network suggests that Path is on the way toward removing the limit on the number of friends a user can have on the app (currently, the limit is 150 friends).
There were hints at such a move in March, when one prominent user posted a screenshot of a message from Path that detailed a user-increase test on the service.
A feature made famous by Snapchat, Path's ephemeral-messaging announcement comes just one day after reports surfaced that dating app Tinder would be adding a similar feature.
Apple announced on Monday that it had added ephemeral messaging to its Messages app for iOS 8Apple announced on Monday that it had added ephemeral messaging to its Messages app for iOS 8, which is scheduled for public release this fall.
What this all means for Snapchat, a company that reportedly turned down a $3-billion acquisition offer from Facebook last year, is unclear. But earlier this year, when asked about other apps adding ephemeral messaging, a Snapchat spokesperson told Mashable, "It's exciting to see other companies begin to embrace deletion by default."
As more apps add ephemeral messaging to their toolboxes, the notion of Snapchat (and apps like it) as a mere product feature and not a full-fledged service is likely spreading among users and investors alike. Increasingly, Snapchat's multi-billion-dollar valuation is looking pretty ephemeral itself.