India now has two alternatives to WhatsApp—Samvad and Sandes
The Narendra Modi government amid the raging controversy over privacy on WhatsApp is in the process to set up its own messaging service for mobile phones. Pilot tests are being conducted by the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) for the platform.
"These apps are being developed completely by the government of India. It is going to be an instant messaging app like WhatsApp," said a MeITY functionary."A need was being felt within the government for a very long time to have our own, independent, and self-owned instant messaging service.
Development of these apps began way before the present WhatsApp controversy," said the source. The biggest advantage of this app will be that "we will never have to worry about data being stolen and used for commercial gains by big tech".
However, acceptance from people is still under question. It isn't clear still if between the two, Samvad and Sandes, which one would gain ground.
Sandes is currently available on the Apple store but only verifies government employees for now. "It may entirely be possible that one of these apps shall remain for the internal consumption of government employees and not be rolled out for the public," the source said.
The new apps, meanwhile, are being developed under the Digital India rubric by the National Informatics Centre (NIC). Functioning under MeITY, NIC provides the support system for the delivery of the government's IT services and Digital India initiatives.
Earlier this month, a Bengaluru-based startup launched Koo, a Twitter-like microblogging platform.
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