Can ‘Made In India’ Twitter Alternative Replicate Twitter’s Success?

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The popular microblogging platform Twitter has a new Indian clone and it is all set to capture the non-English users in the country.

On Friday, a platform named ‘Koo’ was declared one of the winners of the government’s Digital India Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Innovate Challenge.

Initiated by The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the aim of this challenge was to successfully identify existing and scalable Indian apps in a total of eight categories. Koo won in the social networking category.

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Launched in March 2020, the platform has been co-founded by Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidawatka, both serial entrepreneurs.

Similar to Twitter, the platform allows its users to be able to speak what’s on their mind via 400 characters or alternatively by posting a 1-minute audio or video clip.

Currently, Koo supports the most widely used Indian languages such as Hindi, Kannada, Tamil and Telegu and also lets its users send direct messages to one another along with facilitating the use of hyperlocal hashtags.

While it is still unknown how big is their userbase as of now, some of the prominent personalities who have already endorsed the platform and joined it are – Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Shri Sadhguru, Anil Kumble, Javagal Srinath, Ashutosh Rana, and Ashish Vidyarthi.

Mayank, one of the co-founder, in a press statement, has said that their team is extremely honoured to have been on the list of all the apps that won the challenge. He also thanked the government of India for backing their efforts and placing trust in technological innovation for a better India.

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Additionally, he mentioned that they are now looking forward to making sure their platform Koo is able to become a driving force when it comes to giving a voice to billions of Indians on the internet.

Will Koo Become India’s Answer To India?

Starting from TikTok alternatives such as MitronTV and Chingari to JioMeet for replacing Zoom, India, mostly fueled by anti-Chinese sentiments, has lately been churning out many apps and platforms which are in direct competition with international tech biggies. 

These alternatives are mainly focused on acquiring Indian users and are trying to ‘localize’ both the experience and technology as much as possible. The platform Koo seems to be headed down the same road. However, whether it succeeds to gain the lion’s share of users in India against Twitter is something that still remains questionable! 

As of July 2020, the American microblogging and social networking platform has 17 million users in India and thus stands dominant. Twitter has made strong footprints in India market with hundreds of thousands of bigwigs are actively using the platform.

Nonetheless, Koo is still a promising new entrant considering the increasing adoption of local language computing. The rise of local language channels on popular video sharing platform YouTube is quite evident that users are actively looking beyond English. The unprecedented success of those channels has also encouraged internet giants, including Google and Facebook, to add the support of local languages to their platforms as well.

Koo was able to bag the top entry in the social category by an unspecified jury which comprised of industry experts from various private sector and academia fields. 

The government’s innovation challenge was based on four parameters which were given a lot of importance to. These include – ease of use, robustness, security features, and scalability. Therefore, Koo winning the contest definitely displays that they are moving in the right direction.

All said and done, it remains to be seen if, against all odds, their team can grab a sizeable share of the social media market space in India in the near future. We will keep you updated on all future developments. Until then, stay tuned.

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