A new app called Snowball has just been launched today. Running on Android (for now), Snowball serves as your smartphone's universal inbox for all your messaging clients, collating all messages from SMS, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, Snapchat, and WhatsApp, to name a few. When installed on your smartphone, Snowball's icon should appear right on the Android homescreen as an icon.
But why launch on Android first, and not on, say, iOS? Well, the background of the app's creators, Anish Acharya and Jeson Patel, may have something to do with it. Acharya and Patel had met at the University of Waterloo before ending up in the city of Seattle with the two working for Amazon and Microsoft, respectively. They would later partner to form and then sell SocialDeck, a company that publishes mobile social games, to Google back in 2010. In their Google stints, Acharya would later run the mobile product for Google +, while Patel would found Google Play Games. From Google, Acharya would later go to Google Ventures where he worked as an investing partner for a few years. Needless to say, both have roots in Google and solid ties to the Android team, so debuting their Snowball app on Android makes a lot of sense.
In development since May earlier this year, Snowball's concept was inspired by the challenges experienced by the duo in trying to unify all their mobile messages. And now that Snowball is launched, the creators are only eager to let others experience this one of a kind message-collating tool.
One clear advantage of the Snowball app is its near universality. The app can work with any other messaging app, be it Facebook or Twitter, WhatsApp or WeChat, Snapchat or SMS. But what about authentication? The app works around that particular issue not by adding another layer of authentication process, but by pulling the message notifications out of the Android system itself. This is one of the reasons why Snowball is being launched first on Android. iOS is too protective a system to allow an app to embed itself so deeply in the mechanism.
How does Snowball work exactly? After you install the app, its icon will start to hover on top of the Android homescreen, displaying the number of new messages you in each messaging client. When you tap the icon, Snowball lets you select the corresponding messaging app so that you can reply to the message itself. This way, Snowball does not serve as another messaging client, but instead just a collector-notifier of all your mobile messages.
For now, Snowball is not without its kinks, which is to be expected from any new app. But as more users utilize the app, the creators are confident that they will be able to iron out any major issues with the help of feedback from customers, and more importantly, continue to improve upon the app's design and functionality in the future.
Snowball is available as a free download via Google Play.
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