BlackBerry Adds Features to BBM, Including Snapchat-Like Timed Messages

BlackBerry today announced that it has released new features for BBM, offering users more privacy and control over their communications.

At the core of the BBM experience is privacy and control, the Waterloo-based smartphone maker says. These two notions “are more important today than ever before as people are looking for simple ways to help guard against their messages getting into the wrong hands or being seen by anyone other than the intended recipient,” according to the Canadian company. Features introduced today include:

  • Timed Messages: By setting a timer you can control how long messages and pictures you share with contacts can be viewed within BBM. The message is hidden until the recipient touches and holds on the chat. Then, once the timer has expired (or if the recipient takes their finger off the screen), the message is no longer visible. The user also receives a notification if BBM detects that the recipient has taken a screenshot of the image or message.
  • Message Retraction: Users can now retract their message to remove it from their BBM chat before it has been read by the recipient or after it has been read so that it is no longer visible within the BBM chat.
  • High Quality Image Transfer: When a user receives a picture in BBM, they can quickly request an HD version to enjoy the image in full detail.
  • Faster Sticker Selection: It is now easier for users to browse BBM Stickers and quickly add them to their chats.
  • Discover New Music: See what music BBM contacts are listening to and show others what songs you’re playing. iPhone users can tap the song and be taken to iTunes for a quick and seamless purchase.

“These new enhancements to BBM were highly requested so we’re excited to be delivering them to users today,” said John Sims, President Global Enterprise Services at BlackBerry. “These capabilities will allow our users to be more creative in how they deliver their messages while also being confident that their content is kept private and seen only by its intended recipient.”

BlackBerry also revealed that BBM, which now has more than 90 million active users across BB10, iOS, and Android, will soon be moving to a subscription-based model. Timed Messages and Message Retraction are “premium features” that will be available free to users for next three months, after which unrestricted access to these features “will become part of a broader bundle of features that will be offered as part of a BBM subscription.”

This marks BlackBerry’s most serious attempt at monetizing BBM yet.