New Skim App is Like Snapchat for Text

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 9.07.06 AMWhat’s the scoop with Skim, a new text-messaging app whose principal feature is that text messages disappear forever while they are being read?

Edit 8/2014: Skim has changed its name to Peek.

Some people – smart ones – make an evaluation of the importance of a new app or network based on the amount of money that shrewd investors are willing to put into it before it has real revenue. By that measure, Snapchat is a fantastic idea. Venture capitalists and angels have invested $73 million in Snapchat – the picture messaging app without any sign of revenue on the horizon, valuing it at more than $800 million.

Snapchat’s claim to fame is that picture messages supposedly self-destruct after they’ve been viewed. That feature has proven to be anything but foolproof, but users have embraced that app and are sending 350 million snaps per day according to the latest data.

skim-home-screenIt’s no surprise based on the rapid user uptake and the amount of money raised by Snapchat that the makers of Skim are betting on similar popularity for an app that makes text-based messages self destruct. It looks like Skim does just that.

A colleague and I downloaded it this morning (it is free for now) to test it out. Users are required to use Facebook or Twitter to sign up, a shortcoming in my view – some people like to keep platforms separate. As for how it works, I have an older iPhone and my colleague has a 5S. The app worked perfectly on his device with my message melting away as he read it, but on mine, rather that seeing the message disappear as it is supposed to, the app shut down as I viewed each message. I’m due to get a new phone so I’m willing to assume it was my device acting up.

Skim is only available of iPhone for now. According to the company’s Twitter feed, it will be available on Android soon.

Skim is a cool idea and a potential problem for parents who have the password for their kids’ phones and like to do a surprise check of their text messages from time to time.

Someone, perhaps Skim, is likely to be successful in this space. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.


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