The Secret app relaunches as anonymous social network with chat
Secret was an instant hit when it debuted at the beginning of February, becoming the most talked-about new social media network. The anonymous concept allowed users to post secrets, and read secrets from strangers. The app broke many scandalous news stories, including Nike layoffs, Facebook's F8, and Yahoo's acquisition of Flurry – leading to the program being downloaded 15 million times in 10 months, and hitting the number 1 spot in the app store in several counties worldwide.
But as with most flash-in-the-pan social media sites, the app lost its charm, and experienced a decrease in downloads and activity over the last few months – and it is no longer listed in the top 1500 apps by App Annie.
However Secret co-founders David Byttow and Chrys Bader have been secretly working on an app update, which may save their waning brainchild. For Secret 2.0, Bader and Byttow have debuted a chat function, which allows Secret's 15 million users to speak to each other with just two taps.
"We still believe great ideas can come from anywhere," Byttow said. "It's more important what is said than who said it. Our goal is to facilitate conversation – either in a physical location, or socially, with your friends."
The slow-to-load square photos with text overlay have been replaced with a smart, fast-loading Twitter-esque feed of text. Photos posted with text now appear as a small circular thumbnail, which pops up into a full-screen visual for as long as you keep your thumb on it – much like SnapChat.
The new private one-on-one messaging allows users to directly message any of Secret's 15 million + authors, and users are given randomly generated conversation labels for each chat – think 'Hidden Village' and 'Magical Theatre'. Users are all each assigned a randomly generated avatar as before too. The conversations between users delete themselves after 24-hours of inactivity.
The update addresses third-party apps such as Anonyfish, which popped up to address the restrictive nature of Secret not enabling direct messages. Users had also found their own way around this, creating one-off gmail accounts and posting them in comments to connect with people outside of the app.
Whether the new update will spark a renewed interest in Secret, and indeed, whether it will last longer than 8 months, only time will tell...