Skype Qik Mobile Video Messaging App Does Its Own Disappearing Act

Possibly looking to take on Vine and Snapchat, Microsoft's new Skype Qik video-messaging app for mobile devices deletes videos after two weeks.

Microsoft Skype Qik

Microsoft has launched a new mobile app that allows users to send video messages that self-destruct after two weeks.

Called Skype Qik, the app allows users to record short videos and share them with friends. The resulting back-and-forth creates a video-rich "chat movie." After two weeks, "and everyone has forgotten about it," according to Microsoft, the videos disappear.

Skype Qik follows last week's release of Xim, a mobile slide show sharing app developed by FUSE Labs, a division within Microsoft Research. Xim creates Web-based slide shows that users can share and simultaneously view. Slide shows created by Xim vanish after about an hour.

The new Skype Qik app is Microsoft's stab at evolving mobile chat from emoticons and auto-complete to a multimedia experience.

"A small team of Skype designers and developers recently took up the challenge to build a new app to run alongside Skype and provide an ongoing form of video chat," wrote Skype Senior Product Manager Dan Chastney and the company's Partner Director Piero Sierra in an Oct. 14 blog post. "They knew they had to create something mobile and lightweight, as spontaneous as messaging but as intimate as calling."

The fruit of their labor is Skype Qik, an app that essentially blends Vine's video snapshots with Snapchat's knack for forgetting shared content after a time.

Chastney and Sierra wrote, "Your silly videos won't live on for all eternity and come back to haunt you. Each video lasts exactly 2 weeks."

The Qik Flik feature on Android and iPhone, and Windows Phone in the coming months, pre-records brief videos that users can employ to quickly drop into their video chats. "They're like GIFs you record yourself—little 5-second videos you can send with just a tap," they added.

Users can block contacts if they choose to do so. Skype Qik is also forgiving of videos sent in error. "And if you send a message by mistake, or don't like the video, don't panic. You can erase any video you've sent from the chat, whether it's been watched or not," they stated.

The official Skype Qik Website mentions an important caveat, however. "It may be possible for recipients to capture and save videos elsewhere before they are deleted from Qik," cautioned Microsoft.

A recent hacker attack against Snapchat users, referred to a the "Snappening," led to the capture and leak of images that were supposed to have disappeared within moments of being shared. On Twitter, Snapchat blamed third-party apps for the leak. "Snapchatters were victimized by their use of third-party apps to send and receive Snaps, a practice that we expressly prohibit in our ToU [terms of use]," stated the company's official Twitter account on Oct. 10.

Later, admitted to a data breach that affected 500MB worth of images. "I would like to inform the public that was hacked," Snapsaved posted on its Facebook page. "We had a misconfiguration in our Apache server."

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...