Get ready to really mean what you text: A new messaging app released on Thursday displays every letter you type — and every letter you delete — to your message recipient in real-time, which means there’s no hiding your mistakes or prematurely expressed opinions.
The new app, known as Beam Messenger, is “the closest you will get to having a verbal conversation in a messaging app,” according to its Google Play page. Users in a conversation see each and every keystroke as they happen, bringing a new level of intimacy and transparency to text messaging. It’s kind of what it feels like to edit a Google Doc with another person, but for text-messaging and friendship.
In addition to displaying letters typed in real-time, the app arranges messages according to the exact moment when they were sent. If your friend is typing a sentence and you text them while they’re still typing, the app will cut them off and display your message in the middle of their sentence, sort of approximating what it’s like to blurt something out while your friend’s talking in a conversation.
The app is currently available for free on Android devices. Alec Gordon, Beam’s CEO, told The Huffington Post via email that an iOS version is about 65 percent done and that a PC version is likely to follow. The different platforms will be able to message each other, Gordon said.
An app that exposes your thought processes and typing skills (or lack thereof) seems like it could raise privacy concerns for some users. But The Atlantic’s Megan Garber argues there’s “something wonderful” about Beam’s ability to eliminate those ellipses that pop up when someone is responding to your text messages on iOS — ellipses that she says can cause “emotional and existential frustrations.”