TigerText doesn't count down when your text messages will disappear, Mission Impossible-style. Nor, thankfully, does it blow up your smartphone.
But in every other way, this 2-year-old app can make your text messages go Ghost Protocol nearly any way you want them to.
The free consumer version of TigerText was introduced in February 2010, just after Tiger Woods' adulterous text messages had been made public (TigerText's founders claimed they just liked the alliteration, and that they'd chosen the name well before the whole scandal blew up).
Judging by the 1.5 million downloads since then, there are plenty of spies and lovers on the down low...
Available for iPhone/iPad, Android devices, BlackBerries and Mac and Windows PCs, TigerText lets users set expiration dates for messages sent via its secure private network, delete message/chat histories - even recall mis-sent messages that could cause reactions like the ones below.
Turns out that TigerText has plenty of use in the business world, too.
Most of TigerText's 50+ enterprise customers are hospitals, who not only must comply with strict HIPAA rules around patient data, but, at least in America, must now prevent their doctors from communicating with patients via regular text messages (a ban that TigerTexts, because they are over a private network with automatically-deletable messages, are exempt from).
And according to an unverified comment on my blog post at Forbes, "At the hospital I work at, we have the burden of meeting HIPAA requirements, particularly since many doctors send and receive patient info via text messaging on thier BYOD phones," wrote 'Joshua Jericho'. "We got the doctors to use Tigertext, which deletes the text messages after a period of time, making it HIPAA compliant. I don't know if this is the best solution for everyone, but it was an easy and cost effective way to deal with this issue. It was added to the IT departments responsbilities, but once the departments business objectives where (sp) redefined on this issue, they were able to handle it better."
TigerText, which just closed an $8.2 million round of VC funding, also has customers like banks who must comply with Sarbanes-Oxley rules.
But the Santa Monica, Calif.-based just introduced a new version of its app, with improvements such as: instant-messenger-like speed of delivery, PIN protection of the app, image sharing and remote wipe of the app for network administrators.
I spoke with CTO Sumeet Bhatia of TigerText Wednesday to learn more about the app's guts.
(Warning: this is the part of the post where it gets a bit nerdytechnical.)
TigerText messages reside inside a sandbox created by the TigerText app. As a result, they can't be copy-and-pasted to other apps, or forwarded to another person, Bhatia said.
TigerText integrates with Active Directory and other LDAP technology, meaning that users can start typing a co-worker's name and have the rest auto-filled by the corporate address book. Future versions will let users send messages to those without the TigerText app like those outside the company.
Bhatia says that TigerText is a targeted solution that can accommodate the devices that doctors and other workers want to use, and is also far less expensive than large-scale Hospital Information Management System software or integrated tablet-software solutions from vendors like Cisco or Alcatel.
Though TigerText has some mobile device management-like features, the company has no major MDM aspirations, Bhatia said. Instead, TigerText has an open API and alliances with several MDM vendors including MobileIron, Airwatch and Manage Mobility. It is working with one of those MDM vendors to enable its app to be managed via that software's console and policies, Bhatia said.
"We're not focused on becoming an MDM vendor, we just want to be the hands-down best secure real-time messaging platform. There's so much opportunity in that," he said.