In the wake of this social media chatter about messaging privacy, one of India’s oldest SaaS (software-as-a-service) companies, Zoho has beta launched its messaging application called ‘Arattai’, which translates to ‘chat’ in Tamil.
Commenting on the public sentiment shifting against WhatsApp, the Zoho VP explained that Arattai would be different from the incumbent leader.
“Arattai won’t share any user data with third parties. And while we don’t have a monetisation strategy yet, we’re looking at this app as a utility app for day-to-day use cases with communication at the core of its infrastructure. So even the current beta version has an in-built document scanner. We’re looking to bring in cloud storage and a digital locker where users can save their confidential passwords and identity cards,” Singh said.
It is worth noting that Arattai employs the core technology of Zoho Cliq, the company’s enterprise communications platform which is similar to Slack or Microsoft Teams. Although, with Arattai, peer-to-peer communication will remain in focus. Zoho is also working on games and stickers as some of the features that would be built into Arattai to further enhance user experience.
“We don’t have a date for the full-scale launch yet, but we are certainly looking to launch Arattai this year itself,” Singh added.
Arattai’s existing features, ranging from one-on-one to group chats with up to 1,000 users, mirror those of WhatsApp’s. Its in-built doc scanner isn’t found in WhatsApp though, which only offers the option of clicking photos from within a chat.
End-to-end encryption, central to user privacy, isn’t offered in the beta app but will be a feature when the app is launched for the public, we were informed. Moreover, features such as games, sticker pads, cloud storage and scheduling messages will be offered in the fully developed application.
Singh further confirmed that the app would remain free for use. It is available as a standalone Zoho product on the Google Play Store and the iOS App Store, and not necessarily as a part of Zoho’s suite of enterprise applications. As of January 2021, Arattai’s beta version has 20,000 downloads on the Google Play Store and the iOS App Store. The company will formally launch the app in a few weeks.
“Our more than 10 years of expertise with enterprise-grade communication, collaboration, and productivity applications plays a huge role in what we plan to deliver to consumers with Arattai,” Singh emphasised.