Users of BlackBerry's messenger service BBM can take advantage of the fact that the Canadian company is offering free and unrestrained access to two popular features: Retract and Timer.

Thanks to the latest BlackBerry update for BBM, the messaging service's users on iOS, Android and BlackBerry 10 devices will be able to gain unlimited access to both the Timer and Retract features. These two privacy and control features were previously accessible only as part of a BBM subscription.

BlackBerry announced the move to make the two features free on April 4 and would be optimistic that the change will help its BBM messaging app stay relevant.

"Building on the renowned immediacy, reliability and security inherent to BBM, the new release provides unmatched level of privacy and control to BBM users without any subscription fees. Keeping control over the messages and content that they share, BBM users can be ensured that what they share is always theirs to control," noted Matthew Talbot, SVP, BBM at BlackBerry.

For the uninitiated, the Timer and Retract features for the cross-platform BBM app were launched in 2014 by the company. Initially, the features were available to users for free. However, the company later made it a part of its $1 per month premium subscription plan.

Wondering what the two features are capable of? Retract, as the name suggests, aids a user in removing an image or text from a message thread. The feature comes in handy if one sent an image accidentally or does not wish to grant access or make visible the sent information to someone.

The Timer feature, on the other hand, will enable the BBM app user to set the duration for how long a particular thing such as location, message or image would be visible to someone. This can be done ahead of time.

The benefit and advantage of the Timer and Retract privacy and control features are that they grant users with complete ownership of what they would like to share with others via the BBM app. Especially even after the data has left their smartphone.

BlackBerry is also making the Private Chat and Edit features free with the latest update for its cross-platform users. BBM app users will also have the option of forwarding a message from one chat to another. The update also brings enhancements and bug fixes.

With intense competition in the messaging app space, BlackBerry would be hoping that the free access will help draw in more dedicated BBM app users who are loyal to the service.

Photo: Kārlis Dambrāns | Flickr 

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