19 August 2021
Neeraj Arora and Michael Donohue, two of the earliest WhatsApp employees, have launched a new social networking app called HalloApp. It is claimed to be the "first real-relationship network" that emphasizes real connections. The app wants to help users connect with only those people digitally that they know in real life too instead of adding anyone out there, be it a random user or an influencer.
Another unique thing about HalloApp is that it is a private and ad-free network. It means whatever you will choose to share can only be seen by your contacts. As for adding contacts, it can only be done through phone numbers as it happens on WhatsApp. Arora said that there will not be any ads, bot accounts, or the followers' concept on the platform.
The app has four main tabs: Home, Groups, Chats, and Settings. The first one is the home feed where you will see posts shared by your contacts. You can choose to either comment on the post or reply to it through DMs. The next two tabs are meant for group and individual conversations respectively. The last tab is for browsing app settings and making relevant changes.
HalloApp is available as a free download on both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. One needs to register through phone numbers to get started. Since the network is privacy-focused, you will need to have another person's phone number in order to add them to your contact list. And yes, all conversations on the app are end-to-end encrypted.
In an official blog post, Neeraj Arora said:
"Unlike legacy social networks, we believe privacy is a fundamental human right. HalloApp uses your phone address book to connect you with the real relationships in your life, and that’s it. Beyond that, we never collect, store, or use any personal information (we have no idea where you live, what you do for work, or how likely you are to consume a certain type of content). More importantly, we will never show you ads. Ever. Instead, we plan to eventually offer additional features at a small cost."