Aditi Kamal, who was team leader at Google Hangouts, says she wanted to develop a home-grown chatting platform; Patanjali to roll out app on June 21.
New Delhi: US-based software engineer and former Google techie Aditi Kamal is the brain behind Baba Ramdev-promoted swadeshi messaging app Kimbho.
The 32-year-old, who was a team leader at Google Hangouts, has also worked at Yahoo Mail and Oracle.
“After working in the US for over a decade, I wanted to design an application for my country,” said Kamal, an MSc in computer science from the University of Southern California. “I decided to come back and approached seniors at Patanjali with the idea of developing the home-grown chatting platform.”
Kamal says her idea resonated with company’s philosophy of promoting ‘swadeshi’ products and services. “The idea was immediately approved by Baba Ramdev and his team. The only mandate given to me was to build a product with advanced encryption standards where data leaks are impossible.”
The messaging app, a product of the FMCG major Patanjali Ayurveda, is set for an official launch on June 21, celebrated as International Day of Yoga. On Wednesday evening, the company rolled out the beta version which, according to Baba Ramdev’s new company Patanjali Communications, registered a lakh downloads within a few hours.
Pitted against Whatsapp
While the look and feel of Kimbho, including its logo, seem inspired from WhatsApp, Patanjali is pitting its app as an alternative to the chatting platform now owned by Facebook.
“We are aware of the data leaks at WhatsApp’s parent company Facebook. Data from our country has fuelled their economy and has been misused without our permission. To ensure the privacy of Indian consumers, we are launching swadeshi alternative of WhatsApp,” Patanjali managing director Acharya Balkrishna told ThePrint. “Our app, Kimbho, which means ‘how are you’ in Sanskrit, saves no data of the users on our servers or on cloud.”
The app allows the sending of free text messages and a feature to follow updates from Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna. Apart from the regular features of chatting platform, Patanjali has added the feature of ‘ghost messages’— time sensitive chats that would disappear after reading.
The app is in the testing mode and has been made available on Google Playstore for trials. “Our idea of launching the app is not driven by plans to generate revenues. The only goal is to protect country’s private information,” Balkrishna said.
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.
ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.