Zoho to launch desi messaging app Arattai

Sridhar Vembu says the app is currently on trial for friends and family, and will launch formally in a few weeks.
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Sridhar Vembu's Zoho Corp is getting set to launch Arattai, a messaging app on the lines of Signal and WhatsApp. The move comes after WhatsApp recently updated its privacy policy, which allows it to share more information with its parent company Facebook.

The latest change in the privacy policy has seen a mass exodus of sorts from WhatsApp, with many groups and businesses cautioning their people from sharing information on the platform. The move has also seen a scramble for hitherto low-key messaging apps Signal and Telegram. Over the last week, there were allegations from users that WhatsApp details were even showing up on Google.

"I cannot talk about our instant messaging app yet, it is still on trial with friends and family. But it will have a formal launch in a few weeks," said Sridhar on his Twitter handle.

Will this be a masterstroke on Zoho's part? The task is Herculean.

Over the last seven years, WhatsApp, created in 2009 by two former Yahoo employees, Brian Acton and Jan Koum, has become the norm for communication. From farmers to store-keepers to politicians to businessmen to home makers, everyone is on WhatsApp. With the latest shift in sentiments for the app, one can only ask where will Indians share their "Good Morning" messages.

"Arratai" in Tamil means to "chat". It is an apt name for a messaging app emerging out a country that loves to chat and share pictures.

Sridhar Vembu, Founder, Zoho Corp Founder

Over the last one year, Sridhar has been pushing boundaries in the SaaS world. In an earlier interview with YourStory, he had made it very clear that building global SaaS products from villages and smaller towns was his dream. He has been vocal about reviving Indian intellectual property, and has been pushing for a knowledge economy driven by technology to revive Indian towns and villages.

It remains to be seen if Arattai will prove to be a worthy competitor for WhatsApp and its popularity. WhatsApp has more than 200 million active users in India. By offering conversations in multiple Indian languages, Zoho’s Arattai may just pull off another winner to challenge the best in the world.

Edited by Anju Narayanan

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