This column is sponsored by Nokia AshaI don’t particularly like today’s app. Not because its a bad app. It’s actually pretty cool. But the problem is that it has exposed my Hindi skills, or the lack thereof.
Today’s App Friday comes from Tachyon Technologies, the makers of online transliteration tool Quillpad. It is an app that allows Facebook users to chat in Hindi. With Quillpad Facebook Hindi Chat, you can type in english, and the app would convert that to Hindi font and display on the other person’s chat window in the same font.
We played around with this app for a few days and here’s what we think about it -
What is it about?
Quillpad Hindi FB chat requires its user to allow access to their facebook accounts. Once the user permits, the app imports his or her friend list and splits it into two listviews. The first one shows a
list of friends who are online and the other shows your complete list of friends.You can directly IM your online friends using the app or send them a message to their inbox on facebook for the one’s that aren’t online.
The texting, is the interesting part. You can send a message either in Hindi or English. Users can type a Hindi word in English, and the text appears in the Devanagiri font.
Plustxt’s success is everyone’s success
In the transliteration messaging app space, Plustxt is possibly one of the first names that comes to mind. The IM/SMS feature has interested investors and they recently announced a seed funding. This is interesting because the thesis of this investment could have been based on the potential growth in usage that this app could see in rural India, where communicating in english isn’t the norm.If this works, then apps like Quillpad can offer a very interesting proposition for social networks like Facebook. The app is definitely going to increase engagement Facebook, but if transliteration tools break into the lower levels of India’s 900 M mobile userbase, then there is a very good chance that apps like Quillpad can bring those users onto social networks, especially in a mobile first economy like India.
The Pros and Cons
Quillpad Hindi FB Chat is a very effective transliteration tool. Using the Quillpad language engine, it can very easily ramp up its offerings to other languages, catering for a wider audience. Furthermore, if you’ve used the Facebook messenger, this is a lot simpler to use.
However, it’s simplicity works against it at times. For example, I would love to be able to see my past conversations on the app, which isn’t possible at the moment. I would also want it to run in background, which it does for some time, but after a while the app restarts. There are just too many instances where the shortcomings of this app require you to go back to the main Facebook app.
It’s a neat tool which needs to become a complete app. If Quillpad Hindi FB Chat can keep the complete Facebook chat experience in the app itself, then it would have done a world of good for itself. I cannot use this app as a standalone Facebook messenger yet.
However, what is really exciting about Quillpad is its ability to open a platform like Facebook to someone for whom English isn’t the first language. And there are a lot of such people in India, with access to a mobile phone. With lowering prices of smart phones, it will be interesting to see if apps like Quillpad live up to their potential.
Download Quillpad Hindi FB Chat here.
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