On Monday, HalloApp will be launched, a new messaging service that aims to be everything WhatsApp is no longer. This new online chat application was created by Neeraj Arora and Michael Donohue, two of the first employees of WhatsApp (which was bought by Facebook), who say this new app will be the “first real social network”.
Both left the company in conflict with Facebook due to the direction it was taking to WhatsApp. Neeraj Arora was business director for WhatsApp until 2018 and was one of the main people responsible for the company’s acquisition process. Neeraj Arora was the IT director of WhatsApp until 2019. Now, with HalloApp, they want to continue the work they were doing.
Like Facebook’s messaging service, HalloApp provides group or individual messaging chats with friends and family. The only way to find people is through their mobile number. However, HalloApp will have a page for users to share posts, like a social network, but it will never have ads or space for influencers. To remain sustainable, HalloApp will charge users a subscription in the future.
The goal of the team, which started making the app available in November to guest users, is to simplify social networks and turn them into a more private space. “Imagine the friends were real friends”, it reads on the HalloApp website.
Neeraj Arora, who led the WhatsApp business area until 2018, compares the most used social networks to “21st century cigarettes”: addictive and competing to gain users’ attention.
The proposal with HalloApp is to limit contacts to people with whom you have close relationships and to stop advertising. There is no possibility of paying the social network to show certain content to more people as it happens on Instagram and Facebook.
For now, the app is limited to four tabs: one for settings, one for sharing news with all friends, one for private groups (eg childhood friends, housemates and co-workers) and one for conversations. Posts appear in the order they are written because there are no algorithms to determine which content is most relevant to each user.