14 posts categorized

July 27, 2015

Truecaller is Making Android SMS Messaging Smarter



It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to draw a parallel between email and SMS messaging on a mobile device. Both collect messages from familiar and unfamiliar sources, gather spam, and offer instantaneous communication with countless people from around the world. 

At least, that’s what Truecaller noticed when it decided to launch Truemessenger, an alternative SMS messenger app for Android. The Swedish-based company recently raised $80 million in funding to further perfect this new line of communication powered by Google Inc.


New But Familiar Design

By connecting the proverbial dots, Truecaller is introducing a familiar system to the SMS world of communication. We’re all accustomed to filtering our emails, assigning spam when necessary and prioritizing mail in personal categories; now, Android users can operate their SMS inboxes the exact same way, making it easier to avoid unwanted spam, by verifying the identity of those who send messages. Customizable spam filters are another unique feature, as they allow inboxes to remain free of clutter and help streamline the experience for users.  

But that’s not all; what makes the app ‘smarter’ is the integration of familiar social aspects with the user’s interface. The app draws photos and nicknames from popular social media sites and adds them to contacts when they message you. The app also allows users to customize color themes. What’s more, the Swedish EDM artist Avicii created a custom ringtone for the app, as a ‘friendly favor’ to the company. 

Alan Mamedi, co-founder of True Software doesn’t believe we’ve seen the end of SMS messaging though. In fact, he believes some markets like the US and India have a long future of SMS usage ahead.

“The volumes are still huge, and no-one is tackling the problems,” he explained.

Currently, 15% of all SMS messages are reported as spam—this amounts to almost 1.3 billion unwanted messages every year.

By focusing on the user’s experience, Mamedi hopes that solving some of the basic communication problems with SMS will keep it viable in the future. 


SMS Competition 

But what about the competition? Unlike most app founders, Mamedi believes the company is headed in the right direction because a number of larger corporations have taken notice of the work it’s already accomplished with Truecaller and now Truemessenger. Companies like Facebook were so inspired by the company’s work that they created their own caller ID app earlier this year. Since Facebook’s Hello and similar apps have launched, Truemessenger has actually received more users by proxy. 

Currently, the app is only available in India and for Android users in the Google Play Store. Google’s operating system allows for third party SMS/messaging apps, whereas Apple’s iOS platform doesn’t—yet. 

The good news is that SMS messaging is wising up to problems faced by its users, as advertising becomes more sophisticated and deliverable on mobile devices. How long will ‘smarter’ be ‘smart enough’? We’ll all just have to wait and see. 


April 06, 2015

The SMS Encryption App that Simplifies Private Communication


The NationalSecurity Agency (NSA) and the (British) Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) have been accused of hacking into servers and SIM cards to obtain access to text messages. “Man in the middle attack” is also a problem, and can occur when using an un-encrypted, wifi-based text messaging service. If an individual hacks into the wifi network, the person can access text messages. 

Encryption is therefore increasingly the only way to maintain a sense of privacy, and while it’s traditionally been difficult for non-techies to understand, new high-quality, user-friendly software has become available. Most notably, app developer Open Whisper Systems recently released an updated version of their encryption app Signal for iPhones and Android phones. In the app, entitled Signal 2.0, supported encrypted text messages use a protocol called TextSecure, which allows users to communicate using voice and text knowing nothing will be intercepted over the internet. 

The app encrypts data when sending text messages as long as the person receiving the text is also running Signal 2.0. The app is celebrated as offering “peace of mind,” and unlike similar products, it features an open source code for expert inspection. It also supports “forward secrecy,” which prevents hackers from decrypting old messages should they steal encryption keys. 

Signal 2.0 offers extra security for iPhone users, as it’s the “one place” where all their communications are always fully encrypted. Other apps, such as Apple’s iMessage, may utilize strong encryption tactics, but only when there’s a proper data connection between two Apple devices. When this is not the case, the app reverts to insecure SMS messaging. The app doesn’t feature forward secrecy or an inspectable source code, either. 

Another Signal 2.0 advantage? It allows “power users” to verify whom they’re communicating with, which provides confirmation that the encryption isn’t being hacked. Using iMessage means “taking Apple’s word for it.” 

Open Whisper Systems and its founder Moxie Marlinspike are enjoying growing reputations for blending reliable encryption with the convenience of mobile. The company also recently partnered with the makers of WhatsApp to add encryption to the messaging product. 

“We want to make private communication simple,” says Marlinspike, who designed the encryption protocols behind his company’s apps. “Our objective is to do new cryptographic research and development that advances the state of the art while simultaneously making it frictionless and accessible for anyone.”

The app is currently split into two options for Android users--TextSecure for private messaging and RedPhone for private calls. “We’re working towards a single unified Signal app for Android, iPhone and the desktop,” says Marlinspike. 

Encryption tools are only as good as the devices they’re installed on, but Signal 2.0 is still paving the way to make spying on billions of people nearly impossible. 


December 17, 2014

How SMS is Helping Small Businesses in Latin America


The second annual Latin American Bitcoin Conference took place in Rio earlier this month. More than 200 attendees saw seminars and panels featuring 37 guest speakers from around the world. 

Among the keynote speakers were a number of bitcoin representatives. The crypto currency is making a big impact across the region. A new partnership between Coinapult and 37 Coins seeks to expand bitcoin access to segments of the population without smartphones or traditional banking methods at their disposal. Their weapon? SMS messaging.

The service allows bitcoin users the world over to send and receive payments using only a feature phone with SMS capability. For entrepreneurs in South America, it holds the promise of allowing them to operate from remote areas, lessening the burden on over-populated urban centers.

This is a crucial development, not just for SMB owners, but for the public purse as well. Millions of small businesses across Latin America are currently restricted to cash-only transactions. This raises the question: how sure can local governments be that rural entrepreneurs are doing due diligence when it comes to paying taxes? It hardly takes a cynic to assume millions of pesos, bolivianos, reals and dollars are slipping through the net.

Of course, there will always be a black market. For some, operating outside the system is a point of principal. But for most small businesses, removing the temptation is all that’s needed to reduce corruption. Give them the tools to accept trackable, taxable payments and they’ll play ball, safe in the knowledge that the added security will help their business in the long run. Legitimacy is so much more attractive when it’s easily achieved.

A similar scheme – albeit with no SMS element – has been implemented in East African countries including Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania. M-Pesain allows its 16 million users to send and receive money, pay bills and withdraw cash from local ATMs. 

SMS-based money transfer systems are providing the way forward in Latin America. Paraguay has Giros Tigo, which incurs a 5% commission fee. Brazil and Argentina have similar systems in place.

Bitcoin and text messaging seem to be a winning doubles team. The key beneficiaries are often people who face discrimination from financial institutions, which view them as risky prospect for credit. Entrepreneurs trying to make headway in these conditions find it difficult to send money, pay with credit cards or open a bank account – no matter how promising their ideas are. Nothing can match text message in terms of potential: four billion people worldwide are living without smartphones (perish the thought!) and the remittances market has found it’s most promising tool yet in SMS-enabled bitcoin transfers.

November 06, 2014

Gif-ify Your Texts with Popkey


For millennials, it’s no longer enough to simply send a text message. There has to be some other ingredient. A video. A photo. A song. Look at any SMS thread from an under 30 and you’ll likely see a string of weird and wonderful emojis. 

Now it’s GIFs. The resurgence of GIFs is something few would have predicted ten years ago. In the mid-noughties, GIFs were outdated, a relic from Web 1.0. As soon as the internet had been around long enough to start witnessing retro fads, the GIF was back with a vengeance.

A new iPhone app is helping users easily find and share animated GIFs in order to express their emotions via SMS. PopKey takes advantage of Apple’s GIF-supporting Messages app in true style. 

It’s not the first GIF app, per se. Ultratext and others have come before it, but PopKey is the first to successfully integrate GIFs into a text messaging keyboard, without having to open a separate app. Here’s how it works: 

Users switch to the PopKey keyboard and search for an appropriate keyword. The results returned will be a list of static images which, once clicked on, will preview the GIF as a thumbnail. Simultaneously, PopKey copies the animation to the phone’s clipboard for easy pasting. Even if you like a particular GIF but opt not to use it, the app saves it in a favorites folder for easy future access.

There are a few drawbacks. PopKey’s GIFs aren’t particularly high-res. The app chooses speedy transmission over quality. And although you can upload new GIFs to the app, it requires you to grant access to your contacts and invite them to the service – something not everyone is willing to do. It also brands every GIF with the PopKey logo. Understandable, but slightly annoying.

But compared to emojis, PopKey’s GIFs get the job of conveying emotion done with a little more style, and a cool retro flourish.

October 16, 2014

How to Improve Text Message Security


Mobile phone security risks are abundant with standard, unencrypted text messages among other elements of mobile use. Accordingly, more and more users are looking to encrypted phone call and text message options for privacy protection. A number of apps available for iOS and Android are designed to improve text message security, encrypting both text messages and phone calls. Let’s take a look at some of these apps, but remember no app can protect mobile devices from physical access. Unless a phone features a passcode, anyone handling the device can read messages, view pictures, check out call history, etc.


TextSecure and Signal

Created by former Twitter security researcher Moxie Marlinspike’s Open Whisper Systems, TextSecure allows users to message everyone on their phone list. End-to-end encryption is only available when talking to other TextSecure users; however, notifications are sent if the conversation isn’t secure. Available for free on Android, TextSecure utilizes independently developed algorithms, including those that create a new security key with each message.



Described by its creators as the encrypted, cloud-based, quicker version of WhatsApp, Telegram makes it easy to share messages and media with up to 200 people at once. Choices include ephemeral chats, which are never saved, and cloud-accessible messages for users wanting to return to conversations. The “secret” chats leave “no trace” on the Telegram server.



Offering “military-grade security,” Wickr is for those who want to know their messages and photos aren’t readable past a certain time. Metadata is stripped from photos before they’re sent, and messages automatically disappear following a set amount of time after being read. The app makes customization simple and allows users to decide how many people they want to find them, create group chats, and “shred” remains of deleted files.



Surespot features tools for independently managing different identities on a single device to distinguish personal and professional communications. Voice chat is also integrated, as is flexible photo control for locking, unlocking, and deleting photos from recipients’ phones. The app requires a password that cannot be recovered or reset. Users may look at one another’s public keys offline to ensure no “man-in-the-middle” attacks.



CoverMe securely stores a variety of media data, including passwords, photos and documents, and makes it possible to hide identities and phone numbers. Calling and texting with non-users is possible via the CoverMe phone plan, but only phone calls and texts with other users feature end-to-end encryption.

These and other security apps offer the text message security that businesses often require to communicate with employees and clients. And of course, they’re useful for the everyday user as well.


April 15, 2014

Mobile Apps: The Lifeblood of the ‘Always On’ Employee


Back in January, Frost & Sullivan published their analysis of the state of mobile enterprise in 2013. The results bore great news for mobile marketing managers, forward-thinking businesses and, most of all, developers of mobile applications. 

The data showed that 48% of decision makers reported their companies used between one and ten mobile apps for employees. Compare that to ten years ago when hardly any workers even had company phones and you start to get a perspective on the exhilarating pace of change in the workplace.

In the year 2014 – or 7AS (After Smartphone) – nearly every white collar job is geographically flexible, and companies expect their staff to be constantly ‘on’. Likewise, most employees prefer to be kept in the loop, and those that are constantly incommunicado are considered a hindrance to getting things done.

For this geo-flexible omni-availability to work, a range of mobile apps are absolutely essential. Mobile workers are, by definition, constantly on the move, which is why mobile devices are chipping away at tasks once reserved for desktop and laptops. From the economic perspective, app-centric devices increase in value as the number or useful apps installed rises. The smarter the phone, the more productive the person holding that phone becomes. 

It’s not just fancy new apps that make mobile workers more efficient. SMS messaging is playing a huge role in the interaction between company and staff. After all, it’s far easier to respond from any location with a text.

The growth of mobility in business has only been possible since the technology has grown more sophisticated. Today, there are three main app functions helping companies work smarter:

  • Notification
  • Input and response
  • Instant action

With mobile, these attributes are more streamlined, more efficient, less glitch and just… well, better than their desktop counterparts. Businesses, employees, customers, mobile marketing managers – they all want to get stuff done more quickly and easily. If they can have an enjoyable experience at the same time, all the better. 

Eliminating steps from both sides – customer and business – is the key to succeeding. Well-designed apps achieve this step-elimination So do workers who can do their job whether they’re at home, in the office or on a plane. The message of an increasingly app-centric workforce is clear. If you’re looking at ways to pare down your operation, trim the fat and boost ROIs: go mobile.



December 22, 2013

Mobile Marketing and Search Optimization


Leveraging the power of SEO for mobile marketing purposes differs from desktop optimization in a number of significant ways. For one thing, target keywords may be shorter in length to account for the shorthand user behavior on mobile devices. It’s also important to bear in mind that mobile devices are constantly on the move, so any optimization techniques must be geared specifically towards a smartphone user base. The most essential insights to assure your mobile site is optimized for on-the-go search are provided below: 

1. Google Mobile

The vast majority of desktop browsers use Google as their default search engine. With smartphones, that number is even greater, so fashion your SEO campaign to reap results on Google. Find rankings success there, and Bing and Yahoo will soon follow.

2. Local Keywords

One of the key differentiators between desktop SEO and mobile SEO is the location-specificity of smartphones. So your mobile marketing solution would be wise to take location-based keywords into account when optimizing for search. Location-specific opportunities are unique to mobile marketing, so it’s imperative that your SEO strategy factors this in.

3. Mobile Site & Map Listings

Concomitant to getting targeted keywords out there is the need for a mobile-friendly website. Come up with a different site structure for mobile devices or, even better, create an app that is easily navigable and free to use. A key part of this is ensuring your maps are functional within your site. Again, there is no better place to start than Google. List your company with Google Maps or your business will literally be off the radar for the vast majority of users. The passing trade enabled by a presence on Google Maps can be significant, especially for the food industry and other B2C impulse sectors that rely on smartphone users for much of their business.

4. Optimized Content

The search engine rankings for your mobile-friendly site or app are contingent on keyword density, so make sure your site is liberally peppered with keywords. It’s unlikely – and not advisable – that your app will have as big a structure as your desktop site, so you need to be even smarter with your use of keywords. And remember, stuff too many keywords in to your content and it will be unappealing to look at and, ultimately, will turn users off. The right amount of keywords is a balance between how much content is necessary to create a good user experience while also including the most essential mobile keyword phrases.

According to recent studies, 15% of retail commerce has been conducted on mobile devices this year. This is why incorporating SEO into your mobile marketing solutions is so important. A good mobile search campaign in conjunction with SMS marketing will ensure your business is engaging with smartphone and tablet users in an effective way. If you are yet to adopt SEO as part of your mobile marketing campaign[BC2] , start in 2014 and watch your traffic increase. If you are clueless about even the most basic requirements for an SEO campaign, hire an individual expert or an agency.


March 05, 2013

Use Text Messaging To Connect With Your Eventbrite Attendees

Eventbrite-sms-marketingAnother Ez Texting SMS Marketing integration? Yes! Eventbrite makes it easy to plan awesome events. Ez Texting makes it easy to connect with your contacts. In other words, a perfect it. Our Eventbrite integration allows you to quickly and easily sync your event attendees into Ez Texting. Why would you want to do that? Already know the answer? Login to Ez Texting so sync up to Eventbrite now!

Before The Event
Short, sweet 160 character text messages are a great way to build excitement about your event. Whether you're teasing out info about the event or upselling attendees with special offers, text messaging is the perfect medium to quickly reach out.

At The Event
Stormy weather. The band is late...really late. If you've already synced your event attendee list to Ez Texting you won't break a sweat. Login, tap out a message (using our smartphone optimized site), select the Event group, and in less than a minute you can update everyone. No computer...or smartphone? No worries. Text-from-phone allows you to text your event attendees using any mobile phone.

What Else?
All the awesome SMS Marketing features at Ez Texting. Want to get the pulse of the crowd? Poll your event attendees using our SMS polls feature!

Don't have an Eventbrite account? What are you waiting for? Check out their features and then signup now!

November 28, 2012

Inbox API Code Samples Now Available In 6 Languages

New-api-code-samplesA few weeks ago, we launched our new Inbox APIs, along with PHP code samples. For a quick referesher: It's important to note that these new Inbox APIs should not be confused with our existing Incomming Messaging APIs. These new Inbox APIs are meant to allow you to manage the contents of your Inbox without logging into the Ez Texting web app.

At the time we said we'd have more code samples in a few weeks, and we're glad to announce that those code samples are now available! Check them out now:

Note! If you're already using our code samples in any other language than PHP, we've updated the shared library used by Contacts, Groups and now Inbox/Folders. Please note this if you download the zip of the library and the samples.

November 06, 2012

New Inbox Management APIs Available

When we upgraded your Inbox to include Folders last week - we actually did a whole lot more work behind the scenes. Why? To let you manage your Inbox (and of course your new Folders) using our REST API. It's important to note that these new Inbox APIs should not be confused with our existing Incomming Messaging APIs. These new Inbox APIs are meant to allow you to manage the contents of your Inbox without logging into the Ez Texting web app. The New APIs allow you to:

Check them out in the REST API Docs.

Looking for Code Samples? We've got them available in PHP over at GitHub. We'll be posting them to the Ez Texting Developer Center in all of the usual languages as soon as we can.

Learn more about our SMS API at the Developer Center.