Let’s Get Technical – How We’ve Used MongoDB to Build Gliph

gliph mongodb technical backend database mmsGliph co-founder and CTO, Nick Asch, authored a new blog entry on how Gliph has used MongoDB as one of its databases.

The entry was published in the official MongoDB MMS Blog and focuses on how MongoDB Management Service (MMS) can help track system stats and handle unexpected loads.

Here’s a paragraph from the entry:

“A service like Gliph has fairly complicated components, including user data encryption, messaging with scheduled delivery and expiry, integration with major wallet providers (each with their own API), among many other pieces. We’re a small team adding features quickly, and iterating is easiest when your system is stable. But our system wasn’t always as robust as it is today!”

Read the complete writeup at the MMS Blog

How to Delete Messages on Gliph

One of the unique aspects of Gliph is that you can permanently delete messages and other data in the system. This blog entry explains how message deletion works on Gliph, how it is different from most messaging apps and why we believe the removal of data is part of a solid privacy experience.

What happens to Information We Put Online?
It is hard to understand what happens to data we store online. Every text we send, every picture that is transmitted, and every person we connect with is represented by data. This data is transmitted across the Internet and ultimately saved on one or many servers and sometimes multiple devices such as smartphones, desktop computers and laptops. What happens to this data?

Social platforms commonly offer “deletion” or “removal” features that make it appear that you can permanently remove stuff you have put online. Unfortunately, these services are often misrepresenting what actually happens with information.

For example, messaging services like GroupMe and Whatsapp offer to remove messages for you. But depending on the app, your unencrypted messages are saved in a database with a flag marked deleted. Services may be built in a way that they are unable to delete the message on the other person’s phone, instead only “hide” it from your end of the conversation.

For a long time, Facebook would not actually remove photos that you had deleted from your account. Now that Facebook has fixed their system, your photos actually be will be actually deleted within 30 days. Today, you can “Delete this Photo,” however Facebook’s platform may not actually delete it for weeks.

A lot of questions have been asked about how Snapchat handles removal of data. You send a photo to someone, and it is supposed to disappear within a short period of time. However, Snapchat has made it clear that images sent over the service will persist for up to 30 days or until all recipients of the image have opened the photo. More concerning to some is that snaps are not being removed properly from smartphones and can in fact be recovered.

This is a pretty big problem, since if you don’t have a background in Computer Science, you must rely on what you’re being told in the interface. If it says “Delete,” does that mean right now, forever, from everywhere?

Behind the Scenes on Message Deletion on the Gliph Platform
When we first introduced message deletion on the Gliph platform, our focus was on clarifying why Gliph deletes from both sides rather than allowing complete archiving. (Please see “Our Thinking on Message Deletion“). What follows in this entry is a more general overview of what Gliph is doing with deleted messages. Continue reading

Introducing GliphMe, a New Way to Connect Online

The team is pleased to announce the release of GliphMe! GliphMe is a powerful little chat system that can replace email and SMS texting. It can save you time and be used to increase your privacy online.

Introduction
GliphMe lets you create a web link that anyone can use to start chatting with you on your iPhone or Android. When someone clicks one of your links and sends you a message, you will be notified by the Gliph app. You can reply immediately wherever you are from your mobile device. Gliphme is useful in a variety of cases online, and you can learn more at GliphMe’s explanation page.

How GliphMe Works with ScreenshotsGliphMe Mobile Messaging Privacy Security Menu Item
Here’s how it works: You start by creating a new GliphMe link using the menu in the Gliph iPhone, Android or web app. GliphMe appears just below the Bitcoin option.

The first time you enter the GliphMe Management view, you will see you already have one link created automatically. This link is used for invitations you send from Gliph in the recently revised Connections View. You will also see that you have the option, Create new GliphMe link. Continue reading

Gliph for iPhone 1.88 and Android 1.35

This week we’re unveiling updates to both the Gliph iPhone and Android applications. The main new feature in both is GliphMe, but some extra subtle improvements are in both apps.

New Feature for iOS and Android: GliphMe
GliphMe is a powerful little link for connecting privately with friends and strangers. When someone clicks a GliphMe contact link they are presented a chat box that lets them communicate with you.

You get push notifications of the new message on your iOS device and can reply directly from the app. Read the blog entry on the feature or learn more at the GliphMe home page.

Gliph for iOS 1.88
We’ve made a variety of improvements to the Gliph app for iOS in 1.88. They include:

  • Multi-Invite capability - You can now invite multiple friends to Gliph using SMS and Email during signup or in the Connect View (Use the + button in the Activity View)
  • Connect View improved – We’ve cleaned up the view you use to add friends on Gliph.
  • iOS 7 swipe behavior – You can now swipe back from a conversation to the Activity View, which is how iOS 7 does things.
  • Easier profile setup – You can now add a few profile facets during signup for Gliph. Continue reading

The State of Bitcoin Mobile Applications in the App Store and Google Play

After seven months of availability, Apple has requested we remove the ability to send Bitcoin from the Gliph app. We have complied in our most recent release, Gliph for iOS 1.85. This blog entry focuses on the state of Bitcoin apps the Apple App Store and Google Play, and what happened to Bitcoin sending in the Gliph app.

What makes a Bitcoin Mobile app?
Most Bitcoin mobile apps include a mix of the following categories:

  • News and Information about Bitcoin ecosystem (e.g. ZeroBlock)
  • Market information (e.g. exchange price tickers, currency conversion, etc)
  • Mobile wallet access (wallet stored on device)
  • Native front-end controls to a cloud-based wallet (e.g. Gliph, Coinbase or Blockchain.info’s apps)

The most interesting mobile apps for Bitcoin are those that allow you to actually use the currency. Practical use of Bitcoin in mobile apps includes:

  • Ability to send and receive Bitcoin with QR codes, written wallet addresses or other means. (BTC transfer)
  • Ability to place buy and sell orders for Bitcoin (BTC trading)

Why is it important for there to be useful Bitcoin Apps
Bitcoin skeptics don’t see the proof-of-work from mining as a good reason for there to be significant value in the currency. Instead, the focus is on whether Bitcoin has value because it is a generally accepted form of payment for goods and services. Continue reading

New Gliph for iOS 7 Changes Bitcoin Support, Overhauls Design and More

We’re launching a new version of Gliph for iOS 7 today with a raft of updates that make Gliph more useful and easier to use. But first, some important news about Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Updates

  • We were asked by Apple to remove the ability to send Bitcoin from the iOS app. We fought to keep it in but it was not possible. You can read more about what happened in a special blog entry we wrote about mobile apps in the App Store and Google Play.You can still create wallets, view balances and receive Bitcoin in the Gliph app for iOS send Bitcoin using Gliph on iPhone, using the same interface as before. Just visit https://gli.ph/m when you need to send Bitcoin, and continue using the app for normal push notifications and messaging.
  • We removed the option to create or attach a wallet from european wallet provider BIPS, which has decided to shutter its consumer-facing Bitcoin wallet service in the wake of a security breach.
  • Usually, there is cool news about Bitcoin and Gliph but not in this release. Hang with us, we are in it to win it with Bitcoin. This is just the pre-season. Gliph’s implementation of Bitcoin will come back harder, faster and stronger no matter the platform.

Miscellaneous Updates

We’ve made a raft of improvements across the Gliph iOS app:

  • gliph delete conversation IM text security privacyYou can now log into Gliph for iOS using your email address on your account. (Previously you were required to log in using your Gliph username)
  • You can now delete all messages in a conversation from the activity view. That’s right, just swipe a conversation to the right and choose Delete Messages. Learn more about permanent message deletion on Gliph.
  • You now tap the information button in the title bar to view connection settings and choose a tag for a connection.

Design Updates for iOS 7

Apple made bold choices with design themes in iOS 7. In the new Gliph app for iOS, we’ve sought to embrace them. Design geeks read on! Continue reading

Simplifying the Gliph Experience with Easier Connections

Our team is pleased to release some important updates to Gliph! After a series of Bitcoin-focused releases this summer, we’ve returned to improving the ease of use of Gliph. In this release, we’ve tackled this in two ways: reducing the number of steps necessary to connect with people and by combining similar functionality in the app.

Most of these updates can be seen in the iPhone and the Web. However, we’ve made some minor updates to the Android app to make it compatible with these other changes. Here are the detailed changes, in the new Gliph app for iOS: Continue reading

Completing Boost VC, Gliph Raises Seed Capital, Relocates Headquarters

If you’ve been following Gliph, you may be aware that its founders temporarily relocated to San Mateo, California to participate in the Boost VC startup accelerator. For three months, our team worked almost exclusively on improving Gliph’s support for the Bitcoin virtual currency.  Once Demo Day hit, we were pleased to have built Gliph into the world’s easiest way to start using Bitcoin.

Gliph subsequently opened a Seed investment round led by Silicon Valley veteran Timothy Draper. Tim served as a mentor to Gliph during our work at Boost and has personally played an important role in bringing services like Skype, Baidu and Hotmail to the world.  Gliph also raised money from Portland’s Rogue Venture Partners, the Boost Bitcoin Fund, and follow-on investment from the Portland Seed Fund. You can learn a bit more about Gliph’s fundraising on its page on AngelList. Continue reading

New Support for Blockchain.info, the Bitcoin Enthusiast’s Wallet

Blockchain.info does a few things very well. First, it offers some great charts, stats and other interesting information about Bitcoin transactions. But secondly Blockchain.info has begun to shine as a rapidly growing Bitcoin wallet provider.

Today, we’re pleased to announce initial Gliph support for Blockchain.info wallets. This means Blockchain.info wallet holders now get the same easy Bitcoin transfer as people who use Coinbase and BIPS.

Whether you trade Bitcoin with Blockchain.info, BIPS or Coinbase you don’t have to bother with Bitcoin wallet addresses or their representative QR codes. You just send them a connection request, and then attach Bitcoin like you would a picture message.

How to Connect your Blockchain.info Bitcoin Wallet to your Gliph account
You must first create a wallet on the Blockchain.info website.

Bitcoin, BIPS Coinbase, Blockchain.info logos iphone app p2p             Blockchain.info signin identifier password login page

  1. Tap the Bitcoin option in the Menu, and choose Use a Different Wallet.
  2. In the Choose Wallet Provider view, select the Blockchain.info logo.
  3. Enter your Blockchain.info identifier and your password into the sign-in page.

Continue reading

Gliph Front Page Photo Contest Results

We received over a dozen submissions to our celebratory photo contest, and made the tough choice to narrow the selection to the five shown below. Each of these photos is now included in text conversation screenshot in the background of the Gliph homepage. You can rotate through them by hard-refreshing that page.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to submit a photo!

Jackie, a pilot, shot this beautiful photo somewhere between Atlanta, Georgia and Allentown, Pennsylvania. Continue reading