[App Friday] Voice-based multilingual app Hoote is here

Hoote is touted as India's first multilingual voice-based platform that allows users to express themselves through their own unique voice and in a language of their choice.
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If you follow megastar Rajinikanth on Twitter, you would have noticed that most of his tweets are now audio clips via Hoote, an app founded by his daughter and entrepreneur Soundarya Rajinikanth and Sunny Pokala. 

A routine voice message that Soundarya received from her superstar father Rajinikanth gave her the idea to launch Hoote, a voice-first social networking platform. Launched in October this year, Hoote is a multilingual app that allows users to express themselves in their own voice and in a language of their choice. In simple language, it is a voice-based social media app.

The Hoote’s advisors include Freshworks founder Girish Mathrubootham and Silicon Valley investor Arvind Parthasarathi. In less than a month since its release, the app has been downloaded more than one lakh times and has a rating of 4.3 stars.

Hoote is available on both Android and iOS.

We decided to explore this newly launched app, and here are our first impressions.

To get started

The app is by default set in English, but it asks for your preferred language before the registration process. It has regional languages like Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali and more. Interestingly, it also caters to international audiences with two languages currently - Spanish and Japanese. The app makers plan to add more regional as well as international languages in the months ahead.

We have chosen English for this review.

To get down to brass tacks, signup options include both mobile number or email id, and account creation will need the user’s name, profession, and a photo (optional).

Fellow app users

New users are recommended popular accounts on the app, which include some very famous names including Thalaiva Rajinikanth, Soundarya Rajinikanth, Sunny Pokala, CMO Tamil Nadu, Gautam Gambhir, Piyush Goyal and others.

The app’s homepage is akin to Twitter or Facebook, with posts of fellow users you follow featuring in your feed. Hoote’s voice notes can be paused and played easily with the option to ‘Like’ ‘Comment’ and ‘Share’ each post also present.

Hoote note

Hoote audio-based posts can have add-ons like background music and images. And what’s more, several categories of background music is available for each voice note, adding to the versatility of the app. To create a post, one must press the mic button in the middle of the screen, which then leads to two options: either record live or upload an audio file from your device. The length of a voice note can be for a maximum of up to 60 seconds only. The app gives you the option to listen to your voice note before moving on to the next step. Then comes additions like image and background audio, as well as enabling the ‘Comment’ option. For background music as well as images, the app has an in-built library, but you can also choose from your own device gallery.

Other features

Overall, the app offers an easy-to-understand user interface with everything available on the homepage in a clutter-free and streamlined manner. One of the other features the app is touted to be soon introducing is one to one audio-based interaction, like WhatsApp Audio, but with the added benefit of not having to share personal phone numbers.

The app mentions that audio notes or messages on personal chat auto-deletes in one minute . Another upcoming feature on the app is group chats, where people will talk with short audios, however for this feature, auto-delete was not mentioned.

The verdict

For a relatively new app, Hoote has some big wins in terms of its design and content creators onboard. That said, several features are still awaited - private chat and group chat for instance. Our first impression though is that Hoote is an authentic app with genuine users, with one of the most obvious advantages being listening to celebrities speak in their own native tongue.

As opposed to text-based social media, it is clear that audio messages capture more emotions, nuances, and context. It even saves time and makes it easy to record what you are thinking when compared to writing it, and an app like Hoote rightly captures this ease of use.

Edited by Anju Narayanan

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