As WhatsApp is now overly exposed and other tools like SilentCircles are constantly under pressure to allow for some access to communications the Tor Foundation is launching a new messaging service that rely’s on the Tor network. The Tor Instant Message Bundle (TIMB) will rely on the strength of the Tor networks “hidden services” as well will interface with other messaging platforms.
The effort, which is funded by an anonymous donor organization, was originally called Attentive Otter. To ensure the anonymity of the user, TIMB will force all instant messaging traffic through the Tor network, regardless of whether it’s aimed at a server on the Tor network or not. TIMB will be based on Instantbird, an open source instant messaging tool which is itself based on Mozilla’s XULrunner cross-platform runtime environment.
I would expect to see a beta version distributed out some time in mid summer given the milestones and the release paths Tor normally does. They do spend a lot of time testing and with q/a so at least a 3 month window would not be surprising.
The irony is not lost on me that what a lot of people are relying on to keep them from being spied on is partially funded by DARPA grants.