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The new owner of the anonymous, proximity-based messaging app used by punters at the Occupy protest last summer has dropped an updated version of the iOS app. BetaWorks, which picked up the social media app in December last year, is planning an unveil next week at hipster tech carnival SXSW.

The Twitter-like app – currently available only on iPhone – allows users to mass-message those around them anonymously. Or at least, more anonymously than they could on Twitter. The Reg interviewed founder Hazem Sayed about its security in October last year.

Version 1.5 introduces some basic improvements: improved search, a tweaked UI, and the ability to send vibe messages via email. The upgrade also tacks on a double hashtag, which does "the opposite to a Twitter hashtag" by working like a hidden URL, only allowing those who know your tag to look at it.

We asked Betaworks how much money it had forked out for Vibe, but were told that the price hadn't been made public. In a breathy blog post Betaworks said that "love" had been its motivation for the purchase:

We looked at Vibe and we fell in love: here was a simple, real-time, social application with an amazing ability to connect people, friends and strangers alike. In other words, just our kind of thing.

Vibe founder Sayed will stay on board to run the app.

Anarchists and protesters with a self-preservation instinct would have learned from last year's summer of discontent that posts on normal social sites such as Facebook can help land twitterers and stalkbookers in prison. In the UK, custodial sentences of up to four years were handed out for Facebook posts helping incite violence in the 2011 riots. ®

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