HalloApp launched quietly on Tuesday and is available to download on the App Store and the Google Play Store. The new app shares many similarities with WhatsApp, such as focusing on maintaining relationships with close friends and family via encrypted messaging. But it shies away from bombarding users with ads and, as stated in a post on the app’s official blog, “an algorithmic feed of meaningless content.”
HalloApp has a minimalist design and aesthetic. It’s broken into four main tabs—a feed for friends’ posts, group chats, individual chats, and settings. There are no algorithms sorting posts into what the app thinks a user would want to see. The app also doesn’t have any ads or likes or followers; it’s meant for small group usage.
The app was developed and co-founded by Neeraj Arora and Michael Donohue, both of whom worked at WhatsApp before and after Facebook’s acquisition of it. Arora wrote HalloApp’s initial blog post, in which he subtly takes jabs at larger social media companies, and even goes as far to call social media “the 21st-century cigarette,” adding, “The more we inhale, the sicker we get.”