Zoho Launches New Messaging App To Lure Fleeing WhatsApp Users

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Amid introducing a renewed terms of service and privacy policy for letting Facebook access its user-data, the popular instant messaging WhatsApp is observing a handful of its users fleeing to other more ‘privacy-focused’ platforms like Signal.

Now, to cash in on the same, the bootstrapped Indian SaaS unicorn Zoho has also stepped into the fray.

According to media reports, Zoho is all set to release their very own messaging app called Arattai (which means ‘chit-chat’ in Tamil) which is likely gunning to build their user base by attracting the latest swarm of WhatsApp defectors. Why? Well, because the launch of Arattai comes at a crucial juncture when many people have started questioning the Facebook-owned messaging app’s new privacy policies. 

The founder of Zoho Sridhar Vembu recently took to Twitter to talk about the upcoming app wherein he wrote that the Arattai app is currently in beta and is being tested as a ‘friends and family’ trial release. He also mentioned that the app will be formally launched after some time.

WhatsApp, starting Tuesday, rolled out a new update asking their users to agree to a new privacy policy after which the app would be able to share data with Facebook. The popular instant messaging app also stated that users won’t be able to use their platform post 8th February if they do not agree to it. And, this is where the trouble started brewing.

Among several data points, the key information which WhatsApp will be sharing with its parent company and other associated companies will include – a user’s account registration info, IP address, device information, transaction history and information on how a user interacts with other users.

Thus, much like Telegram and Signal, the Zoho-owned Arattai’s pitch is all about user privacy with an additional add-on to cater to Indian consumers – a ‘Made in India’ label.

The app claims that it won’t be sharing data without user’s consent and that their motto is to be customer privacy-centric at all times.

According to the Arttai’s Google Play Store listing, the app requires only the most basic and standard device permissions from users such as – microphone for recording audio, device ID & call information in order to read phone status, storage to be able to read the contents of your smartphone’s storage, camera to take pictures and videos and so on.

Currently, Arattai has a 4.6 rating on the Android app store and has crossed over 10,000 installs with some reviews which have already started calling it a ‘best replacement for WhatsApp’ and a ‘superior chat application’ than others.

But that being said, there is no doubt that the sudden surge in WhatsApp defectors will soon die down and then simultaneously Arattai’s angle of being a privacy-focused app will start falling sort to attract users. 

Thus, from thereon, besides being privacy-centric, the Indian-made messaging app will also need to focus on improving on its robustness and ease of use to make sure users are able to find it as a worthy rival to the biggies such as WhatsApp, Signal or Telegram. We will keep you updated on all future developments. Until then, stay tuned.


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