Releases, Disappearing messages and Video chats

July 30, 2020 by bjoern

Summer is there - and also a new round of Delta Chat releases.

We’re happy that we could fix tons of bugs the last weeks, so that the overall experience of Delta Chat will be a much more stable one. Also we added lots of smaller, but nevertheless important things.

Moreover, we’re happy to introduce two more major, frequently requested features in Delta Chat: Disappearing messages and Video chats. While both features have been early user-tested by various groups, we expect more work and polishing to happen in the next couple of months.

Video chats

“How can e-mail and video chats go together?”

“And what happens if the called person doesn’t even use Delta Chat?”
(Remember, we do not force use of our app on anyone.)

“Also, how this can fit with our decentralized approach?”

We were thinking a lot about these questions in the last year, together with different user groups and testers, and driven by UX-research and interviews.

So - it is up to the user to decide which video chat provider to use.

Delta Chat is not very picky about the chosen provider: The user can use every instance that contains the room-name in the URL, which includes famous services as jitsi, talky.io, appear.in and many more.

We believe in widely decentralizing the video chat services is a good idea for overall privacy. Enabling the user to use any existing instance or hosting their own helps a lot for this approach.

However, once set, starting a video chat is simple - just tap “Video chat” in any one-to-one chat and wait for the recipient to join. (there is no need for the recipient to set a video chat provider on its own - and also, the recipient is still free to join the chat from a non-delta-client, if they really want to :)

Finally, there is also the project basicWebRTC that introduces a slim, fast WebRTC-experience. If basicWebRTC is detected as a videochat instance, on desktop, the call is handled directly in-app.

All in all, video chats are already pretty usable, however, we expect things being fine-tuned in the next releases.

Video chats can be started from Android 1.12 and Desktop 1.10.4 and can be joined from all existing clients

Disappearing messages

Another new feature in all recent Delta Chat versions on all platforms are the so called Disappearing messages, similar to the Signal messenger offering.

Once the feature is enabled in the settings, any user can decide to see all subsequent messages disappearing.

After a chosen timeout, the messages will disappear on all the users devices, on the users server - and moreover, also on devices and servers of the other members if they are using Delta Chat and did not make a copy or screenshot.

Trust your chat partners - you cannot guarantee deletion against a malicious chat partner, not with Delta Chat nor with any other messengers - to begin with, users may make photographs to preserve disappearing messages.

However, together with burner accounts and the deletion of old messages, Delta Chat has a pretty good set of features to get rid of things :)

Also here, as needed, we will streamline things in the next versions and will offer the disappearing messages options by default then.

Try out the new releases!

If you have not got the newest Delta Chat yet, see get.delta.chat for an overview. You’ll also find detailed changelogs there.

As usual, the different stores take different lengths of times for updates — thanks for your patience. Also, thanks to all the UX-research attendees, testers, translators and developers to make this release happen :)