HalloApp by Ex-WhatsApp Execs Aims to Offer a Private Chat Experience: What Is It, How It Works

HalloApp, by two former WhatsApp senior executives, has debuted on Apple App Store and Google Play that aims to offer security and privacy “everyone in the world deserves.” As per the app’s official listing, HalloApp will not feature in-app ads, give the ability to create intimate and private spaces, and not pressure users to send or accept friend requests. The platform primarily aims to take on the Facebook-owned WhatsApp but will face stiff competition from Signal and Telegram apps that also promise a secure user experience. Notably, HalloApp even contains a Home section that includes posts from your phone’s contacts, similar to followers-posts on Instagram. Aside from this, users can enjoy one-on-one chat experiences or group chats. It is founded by former WhatsApp chief business officer Neeraj Arora and former WhatsApp engineering director Michael Donohue.

To register, users can simply head to HalloApp’s Apple App Store and Google Play listing and download it for free. Like WhatsApp and most other messaging platforms, users will be required to provide their mobile number followed by an OTP. The app requires access to contacts to function but can additionally ask for access to the gallery if users are sharing or posting photos and videos. There are four tabs namely; Home for contacts’ posts, Groups that contains group chats in a dedicated tab, Chats for individual chats, and Settings. One of the most notable features under the Settings is the Account section that contains two options – Export and Delete. Export would allow users to retrieve chats from other platforms, while Delete would initiate the uninstalling process that most social media companies hide under deep layers of their apps.

Co-founder Arora, who left WhatsApp in 2018, in a blog post said that HalloApp offers no ads, no bots, no likes, no trolls, no followers, and no algorithms. “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,” he explains. The app promises end-to-end encryption for chats that rivals like WhatsApp, Signal, and Telegram (not on by default) offer. “Social media has become the 21st-century cigarette. The more we inhale, the sicker we get,” the post adds.

Regardless of all this, taking on WhatsApp for HalloApp won’t be easy as the former dominates the market with over two billion users. When asked about HalloApp’s marketing tactic, Arora and Donohue in a podcast episode hosted by Christopher Lochhead said that the company wants the product to speak for itself. The duo believes the current way of pre-hyping the product won’t work for them, and their goal is to have users appreciate the product and share it with their family and peers.