Tech News : Clubhouse For Android Launched In The UK

19th May 2021

Drop-in audio conversation social network app ‘Clubhouse’ has launched its Android (beta) version for download in the UK.

Clubhouse Android Launched In English-Speaking Countries

San Francisco-based Clubhouse announced on May 9 that, starting in the U.S., and quickly following in other English-speaking countries, it was rolling out of the beta Android version of its popular app.

Still Invite Only

Clubhouse has stressed, however, that despite what will be a worldwide rollout over the next few weeks, the app will continue to have the waitlist and invite system in order to “keep the growth measured”.  Clubhouse says that the plan is to continue to scale out the backend over the coming months in order to open up further to the millions of people on its iOS waitlist.  The app will also be expanding its language support and adding accessibility features to help with the growth in membership.

Android users in the UK can now download the Clubhouse app from the Google Play Store.

Problems Earlier in the Year

Clubhouse has acknowledged that the problems that it experienced earlier in the year, such as server outages, notification failures, and surpassing the limits on its early discovery algorithms were a result of rapid growth.  The company says that it has switched its focus from “hiring, fixing, and company building” to investing to enable the growing app to be able function well for the membership.

Hype and Benefits

The Clubhouse app has grown very quickly, accompanied by quite a bit of hype, but also because it appears to offer users the kind of direct access to an audience with influential people and industry leaders from around the world that it would be very difficult, costly, and time-consuming to get normally. Also, the real-time conversations mean that time is saved while issues, ideas and plans can be addressed and discussed instantaneously. As such, it has proven to be very appealing to business users.

Privacy Concerns

Important aspects of the Clubhouse app that were not mentioned in the recent announcement are the possible security and privacy concerns.  For example, the Clubhouse app doesn’t appear to have end-to-end encryption (like WhatsApp), user data is routed through Chinese servers (and by implication, the Chinese state) and the requirement on sign-up that users must upload their device address books, thereby sharing other peoples’ contact details without consent.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

The rapid initial growth of Clubhouse has been fuelled by some of the potential benefits valued by businesses (e.g. the possibility of getting direct access to an audience with influential people) and finding new business opportunities, coupled with the exclusivity (invite only) and the other benefits of getting in early before the crowd. The app had some problems due to its growth exceeding its capacity but the promise to invest by Clubhouse may mean that it may suffer fewer outages going forward. Now that Clubhouse is really growing it can expect some stiff competition from other popular meeting apps (e.g. Zoom) and the threat of big social media players quickly launching their own versions (e.g. Twitter’s ‘Spaces’). The security and privacy concerns remain, however, despite the big Android rollout, and for users it may simply be a case of weighing up the known risks against the possible benefits, accepting that this is simply an exclusive space to meet and chat but that it comes with potential privacy and security risks at this stage in the app’s life.