The Snapchat formula is simple, but effective: "This message will self-destruct". It works brilliantly for photographs, because sometimes you don't necessarily want to be able to keep all your friends' puppy photos clogging up your SD card.
But would that formula work just as well for voice messages? Well, why not? Aside from the fact that it's free to use -- not, of course, including usual data charges -- a new app called ChitChat from developer Ideo that just that has a couple of immediately obvious benefits.
Firstly, it removes the expectation that the voice message is necessarily urgent, allowing your contacts to access and listen to your messages at their own pace. Secondly, it means they don't have to worry about deleting communications -- just like Snapchat doesn't take up SD card space, ChitChat doesn't clog up your voice message box.
How it works is pretty simple: you enter your phone number, which acts as an ID to connect you with family and friends. This enables the app to look for other ChitChat users in your Address Book (at this point in time, the app is iOS only). To send a message, you need to tap and hold the relevant contact icon while speaking your message (which may mean holding your iPhone's mike a little awkwardly to your mouth), releasing when done. As soon as you release, the message sends automatically.
Once your contact has heard your message it is deleted, and listening to messages just requires one quick tap on a contact's pic to access them. You can also send messages to multiple contacts at once.
"It's all about your voice, your contacts, and nothing more," the app's description reads. "ChitChat strips away all the noise to deliver a crisp and efficient communication experience. ChitChat brings a new perspective to voice messaging by rethinking how we connect individually and as groups."
An Android version is hopefully not too far away, with Ideo currently seeking an Android developer to make the port. Meanwhile, iOS users can grab ChitChat for free from the iTunes app store. You can also find out more about how it works on its official website.