A recent trend in communication is to add encryption to common forms of messaging such as email or chat. While that protects the content against snooping, provided that the implementation is not flawed in itself, it does not resolve the issue of relying on a central server structure.
If you are using Whats App, Skype, or other messaging applications, you will notice that they all depend on servers that manage the data.
While they may not be able to determine what is being transferred, it is likely that the majority save metadata including "from" and "to" information as well as timestamps.
Bleep, which was formerly referred to as BitTorrent Chat, is a new decentralized messaging program from BitTorrent Inc. which does not rely on a centralized server structure.It is powered by the company's peer-to-peer platform for communication which does without central look-ups and the storing of metadata and offers full encryption.
Bleep has been released as a pre-alpha for the Windows operating system with plans to launch on other platforms in the future. For now, you are limited to the Windows operating system though.
Pre-alpha means that the program has rough edges and lacks features that the company will introduce at a later point in time.
When you start Bleep for the first time you may create an account or continue without one. If you choose the later path, you need to submit your public key to contacts so that they communication becomes a possibility.
You do get an option to import your Google address book to find friends quickly this way. The alternative is to add friends manually using their phone number, email address or public key depending on how they signed up for the service.
If a friend cannot be found, you get an option to send out an invite instead.
The application lists contacts on the left sorted by status (pending invitation, online, offline). Since this is pre-alpha, it does not support offline messaging yet.
Select an online contact from the list to send a message or initiate a voice call. Those two features are what is being supported right now by Bleep.
This worked well during tests though, and while I did experience some issues, I did not encounter anything major.
Bleep has a couple of limitations at the time of writing. Besides the already mentioned lack of offline messaging, it can only be used on a single device at the time of writing. This means that you cannot use the same account on two Windows PCs.
This is however something that is planned, as are features that improve the functionality of messaging.
What sets Bleep apart from other "secure communication" programs and applications is its peer-to-peer approach to communication. Relying on a centralized infrastructure poses the risk of data being compromised by third-parties, be it hackers or governments.
Bleep has a long way to go before it will become attractive enough for the majority of potential users. It needs to be cross-platform, should allow account usage on multiple devices, and requires improvements when it comes to the messaging component. With that said, those are all achievable goals.