Microsoft has a new app that shares self-destructing photos without a social network

There isn’t a shortage of ways to share photos from your phone, but unless you’re using email or SMS, most of them require a social networking account. When you send a Snapchat, for example, your recipient needs the app too. A new app called Xim out of Microsoft’s Fuse Research lab lets users quickly send non-permanent, expiring photo slideshows to friends and family which they can open in their browsers.

There are a couple of things going on in the Xim app. First of all, it’s streamlined and single-purpose. It does one thing: Select photos from cloud storage or your camera’s photo roll and send them to phone numbers and email addresses. When the recipient receives the message in the app it’ll contain a link which leads to a single-serving page with the photos that can be opened in a browser.

Second, if you send multiple photos to multiple people, Xim will synchronize the order and presentation of the photos on everyone’s device. So if the sender swipes or zoom in on a photo, the other devices will mirror the effect in real time. [company]Microsoft[/company] is positioning Xim as a way to share photos around a dinner table, for instance. Send a few baby or dog pictures to your companions and you can all look at a slideshow at the same time. The synchronized slideshow feature may be frustrating when sending images to someone not physically present, though.

Finally, these photos are impermanent, a lot like photos shared on Snapchat or its clones. Eventually, the Xim link will expire, although Microsoft doesn’t give an exact expiration time. One thing to consider is that Xim photos viewed in a browser most likely won’t have Snapchat’s screenshot protection, although that feature is more of a placebo and doesn’t really protect anyone.

Xim obviously has a lot of competition, but considering that the app is coming from a Microsoft research lab, it can be seen as more of an experiment than a major product. Keeping with Microsoft’s new cross-platform mentality, as well as the any-device nature of the app, Xim will be available for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone later today.