Browser Lets Users Send Self-Destructing Emails At Work

Browser Lets Users Send Self-Destructing Emails At Work

Snapchat-like app allows people to send fleeting messages that disappear upon viewing.

Daniela Walker
  • 31 may 2013

The problem with sharing everything on the internet, is that it can feel so darn permanent. What started with Snapchat, the app that made sending naughty and silly photos seemingly safe, has branched out into a slew of applications that make our internet presence more ephemeral. Enter the latest iteration of erasable online media, OTR (which stands for off the record), a new in-browser application that let users send messages to other computers with a 5 second time limit before they vanish into the cyber atmosphere.

Created by app company Lamplighter Games, OTR was directly inspired by SnapChat (it was originally called ChapSnat when it was presented at a TechCrunch Hackathon last month), but designed for a working environment where communication between colleagues is not always business-related. Kris Minkstein, co-founder of the company with brother Andy, told Bloomberg Businessweek:

We both love using Snapchat, so we thought it would be fun to put Snapchat in the browser. We figured since you’re in front of your computer all day at work that you’re going to end up sending a lot of these photos to probably the guys sitting next to you at your cubicle.

Screen Shot 2013-05-31 at 11.22.32 AM

The app is very much in-line with the trend of temporary online media, from self-destructing tweets to disappearing photos, more and more people are searching for semi-privacy online while still sharing parts of themselves. But it is unclear whether any of the media truly vanishes; in recent news a company announced it can retrieve all the SnapChat photos on your phone for $300, while another site SnapChat Leaked has begun posting pictures of those naughty bits you thought were lost in cyberspace. Nevertheless, Minkstein says OTR is not about hiding NSFW from the guys in human resources, ‘It’s not meant for ultra-secure communications or anything crazy like that.’ Rather OTR is just a bit of fun to break up another dreary day at the office and provides people with a way of controlling what they put out on the web. He  explains:

People didn’t even know they wanted this until recently. But they’re getting more and more frustrated with sharing things that live forever on the Web. If anything, you’re going to see more of this. It’s here to stay.



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