The latest update for the Viber instant messaging (IM) app introduces Secret Messages, an ephemeral messaging feature which allows users to send photos and videos that disappear after a set amount of time. The update started rolling out over the weekend and should be available worldwide in the next few days. If your Viber app is up to date, you can check whether the update is live in your territory by trying to send a photo or a video to someone. After recording or selecting an existing file from your gallery app of choice, check the bottom left corner of the user interface and look for a timer icon. If it's there, tapping it will open a new window allowing you to set a timer controlling when the file will disappear after beeing seen. The initial version of this feature allows you to select between one, three, seven, and ten seconds. The timer will start counting down the moment your recipient opens the ephemeral message you've sent to them. In a blog post announcing this feature, Viber explained how Secret Messages can only be opened once and users aren't able to store them locally or share them with someone else.
The addition of this feature can be interpreted as an extension of Viber's existing update policy aimed at introducing functionalities designed to make conversations between people more private. The popular IM app already allowed users to manually delete conversations from both their device and that of their recipient, but Secret Messages provide you with a more fine-tuned and automated experience that doesn't require you to give up on your entire conversation history. Once sent, Secret Messages appear in Viber as blurred thumbnails that users can open and view for a previously designated number of seconds. Once they disappear, they'll only leave a timestamp in your conversation history. The new feature supports both individual and group chats and isn't limited by platform, meaning you can use it to send an ephemeral photo from an Android smartphone to an iPhone and vice versa. You can see this new functionality in action in the video below. In addition to Secret Messages, the latest Viber update also adds the ability to record instant video messages by simply tapping and holding the camera icon located on the bottom of the interface.