Developed in March 2020 by Aprameya Radhakrishna, Koo app is India’s response to Jack Dorsey’s Twitter. Having won Atma Nirbhar Bharat app challenge under social category in August 2020, the application was simply a better looking cousin of Twitter. However, in last 24 hours, 3 million users have flocked to this new talk of the town and this is a 10x jump in its user base. But what is Koo App? Why has it happened? Are there any other concerns over the usage of Koo? Here’s how KOO is trending as #5 top free app in social and way forward:
I don’t know how many of you have noticed this before, but playstore already has an elaborate set of apps under the section called “made in India”. I feel really proud to see that app development scene in India is picking up and we would finally get to see some entrepreneurs in this space. Indians always had this in them, its just we used to do it for American Corporates instead of our own business. However, equally sad flipside of the coin is that most of us don’t bat an eyelid to this section. The downloads aren’t phenomenal either. Quick test would be to realize if you were aware of this section or not. If not, I don’t think there’s enough buzz around it.
We all our vocal about our local made products but unfortunately that is it. When it comes to actual purchase, we lean towards a cheaper alternative. Murdering our pseudo nationalism instantly. Don’t believe me? How do you explain Xiaomi doing a record break sales of 200 crore on a single day for its ONE device Mi 10i (source)?
So What Did Koo Do?
Koo entered the market with a different agenda altogether. Built on the basic premise that less than 10% of the people in India speak English, it wanted to give a voice to the thoughts of natives in their preferred language. As a result, the UI is also available in major dialects of our country. It was clearly an application build for the new entrants who have just joined this internet revolution.
What is Koo app? Koo was just another joker in the pack of cards. A wannabe twitter in the Indian app stack. However, thanks to the blessing in disguise, our boycott culture and skewed freedom of speech, Koo emerged as the winner.
GoI vs Twitter:
A few days ago, government of India asked Twitter to block 250 accounts that were promoting some questionable content related to farmer’s protest, as per them. Twitter agreed and later found itself in a difficult spot where protestors questioned their right of freedom of speech and Twitter had to roll back this decision. After restoration of these 250 accounts, government slapped with another list 1,178 accounts that were flagged by security agencies as accounts of Khalistan sympathizers or backed by Pakistan and operating from foreign territories and causing threat to public order in view of the ongoing farmers’ protests in some parts of India.
While Twitter succumbed to pressure and deactivated 500 accounts of the list, they somehow chose to be on the right side of the freedom of speech and took a call to maintain the status quo on the other accounts. These accounts belonged to activists, journalists etc.
To spicen up the things a little more, Mr. Dorsey was found “liking” several tweets made by “foreign celebrities” in support of the protests. “In view of this, defiance of Government orders by Twitter raised several questions. This raises questions about Twitter’s neutrality.
What Happened Next?
In this middle of this Tom and Jerry fight between our Ministry of Electronics and IT (MEIT) and Jack Dorsey, some of the renowned politicians and twitter handles of various government departments showed their resentment by moving to Koo. Since they were quite vocal about it, the word spread pretty fast and hence a surge in the user base. Some of the key names that moved to Koo are:
Policiticans: Sambit Patra, RS Prasad, Piyush Goyal, Giriraj Singh, Sanjay Dhotre , Shivraj Chouhan and BS Yediyurappa, CMs of Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka respectively.
Actors: Anupam Kher, Kangana Ranaut
Sports Personalities: Anil Kumble, Javagal Srinath
As always lately, polarization is at it’s peak. And in the middle of such a grim situation, memes are always on the dot to the rescue. Here are some amazing reactions by people who are happy after this decision.
Is Koo App Safe?
There is a French cybersecurity expert that goes by the name Elliot Alderson on Twitter. He has exposed some key vulnerabilities in the Aadhar system as well in the past. This time around, he accused Koo of leaking personal information including email, name, DOB, marital status, gender. In response to this, Mr. Radhakrishan tweeted the following:
What is the inside truth? Only time will tell.
The Chinese Connection:
A Chinese company named Shunwei (which is connected to Xiaomi and is a venture capital fund investing in start-ups), has also invested in Koo. However, Shunwei will now be exiting the company and will be selling its stake, making Koo a complete Indian entity. This has been confirmed by the Koo co-founder. Enough Masala already!
But How is Koo as an App?
Twitter was launched in 2006. In these 15 odd years, I haven’t looked out for an alternate micro-blogging platform. However, ever since I have tried the Koo app, it is that feeling of infatuation that has evolved from boredom of my past relationship with Twitter. Over all app looks nice and clean. It has this yellowish theme (in contrast to twitter’s blue).
If you are well versed with Twitter and it’s functionalities like retweet, like etc. Koo shouldn’t be anything new. While currently it has a user base of people of one set of ideologies, I am sure as more and more users join in, it can be an effective medium to share your views. A worthy contender of being the next Twitter (at least in India)
Team at Koo app would be so happy with this unprecedented boom. Although reasons behind this success story are truly questionable, I think India needs more revolutions like these. As Harshad Mehta said, “India pe laga do“, I am very optimistic about the future of tech in our country.
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Until next time..