আরট্টাই একটি হোয়াটস্যাপের স্বদেশী সংস্করণ। এটি চেন্নাইয়ে স্থাপিত জোহো কর্পোরেশনের দ্বারা স্বদেশী উদ্যোগে তৈরী।
অ্যাপটিতে এখনো নির্মাণকার্য চলছে, অনেক সংশোধন বাকি আছে কিন্তু ব্যবহারযোগ্য বলে দাবি করেছেন জোহো কোম্পানির সংস্থাপক শ্রীধর ভেম্বু।
কয়েক হাজার ভারতীয় স্বদেশী অ্যাপটি ব্যবহার করে আনন্দিত এবং ভালো প্রতিক্রিয়া দিয়েছেন। আপনাদের কাছে আবেদন যে আপনারা সবাই এই অ্যাপটিকে ডাউনলোড করে বাৰ্তালাপের জন্য নিজেদের বন্ধু এবং পরিবারের মধ্যে ব্যবহার করুন এবং যথাসম্ভব প্রচার করে এই স্বদেশী উদ্যোগটিকে সফল করে তুলুন বিদেশী অ্যাপ্স কোম্পানিগুলির বিরুদ্ধে।
Zoho founder Sridhar Vembu’s tweet about it was enough to have droves of people downloading the app.
But even as the debate was hotting upon which of the two apps was a better alternative, along came Indian software company Zoho’s surprise new offering Arattai (meaning chat in Tamil).
Though a formal launch is yet to happen, Zoho founder Sridhar Vembu’s tweet about it was enough to have droves of people downloading the app.
Has Arattai the potential to take on biggies WhatsApp, Telegram, and Signal? The other homegrown app – Hike, promoted by Kavin Mittal and backed by Tencent and Foxconn among others – is shutting down according to a tweet by its founder. And Patanjali’s much-hyped Khimbo is nowhere to be seen.
The early users seem happy. K Srinivasamurthy, a Chennai-based publisher, said he learned about Arattai from Vembu’s tweet. “I went to the Zoho site and checked it out. And learned the server was in Chennai itself. So I thought why not make the switch,” he says.
Murthy says he has found the app easy to use and many of his friends are on it. “I have been messaging them, but haven’t tried the call function yet,” he says. Signal app to introduce new features raises group call limit to 8
Bells and Whistles
Arattai has all the basic bells and whistles of WhatsApp including groups, calls, group calls, and video chats. Unlike Telegram, which has a slightly different user interface, the UI of Arattai is similar to WhatsApp, which may make it easy for Whatsapp users to switch to it.
One important plus point with Arattai is that the users’ phone numbers are hidden from other users in groups, unlike in WhatsApp where it is publicly visible and, therefore, a security risk. Another advantage when compared to WhatsApp is that it can accommodate more users in a group, 500 now, but may soon go to 1,000.
Interestingly, Arattai has not been formally launched. Apparently, it has been in the works for around a year and was released to the Zoho staff in case they wanted an alternative to WhatsApp. But somehow, the news leaked.
In a tweet, Zoho CEO Sridhar Vembu said: “Our Arattai team asked me to not talk about our instant messaging app yet, but since it is already being talked about. I guess I can talk too.”
While Vembu’s tweet said it was a friends-and-family trial release, and a formal launch would be done in a few weeks, more details were shared to BusinessLine by Praval Singh, VP, Zoho Corp.
He said Arattai plans to launch desktop versions and a web app. “They will function independently and will not require the app to be switched on and connected to the net on the phone,” added Singh.
He said some of the features that would be introduced during the launch in Q2 2021 were stories, sticker packs, a digital locker to store documents, live location sharing, cloud storage, games, and scheduled messages.
“There’s a team of 10 that’s working on Arattai. It’s the same team that works on our enterprise-grade business communication platform known as Zoho Cliq. The team is currently working remotely out of various locations in India,” said Praval Singh.
Vembu, in his tweet, had said there was no end-to-end encryption as of now. “End-to-end encryption is being worked on and will be available in the formal launch.”WhatsApp provides clarification on new privacy update amid criticism
When BusinessLine tested the app, we found a few bugs in Arattai, like calls not getting connected. Syncing of contacts, too, took a long time, with the search bar constantly saying it is “Syncing”. But given that the app is yet to be launched formally, it may be wrong to call these bugs.
Meanwhile, there are already reports of people junking the new groups in Signal and Telegram and going back to WhatsApp. Many feel the WhatsApp-Facebook privacy link doesn’t matter as they are already on Facebook and Instagram (both owned by Facebook) sharing similar material and chats.
A techie who had moved to Telegram said he did it because of the features. “If Arattai is going to be just another WhatsApp, I won’t move. What’s the point if it’s just another messaging app?” he said.
Kavin Bharti Mittal in his tweet had talked about the network effect of international apps being strong for Indian apps. Let’s see how Arattai combats that.