Among the vortex of many social media platforms, a new one has entered the league. A knockoff, local version of Twitter, Koo is a microblogging social media platform for sharing your “thoughts and opinions.” Many have chosen this indigenous alternative from commoners to high-end politicians and celebrities as the government’s Twitter fiasco is only but getting intensified.
What is Koo?
Based in Bangalore, Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidawatka found the app in March 2020. The app, launched by Bombinate Technologies Pvt Ltd-it’s parent company, won the government’s Atmanirbhar App Innovation Challenge in August 2020, along with Zoho and Chingari- the local version of TikTok.
Previously, the founders had developed another app known as TaxiforSure, which they later sold to Ola Cabs in 2015. After the subsequent win, Koo has gained tremendous popularity as the Indian microblogging site supporting Indian languages.
Its highest selling point is that it supports more than 19 regional languages, including Hindi, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Gujarati, and Marathi. Hence, the reach is broader and beyond the English-speaking population only. Available for both, android and iOS, it also accessible on the web.
The app draws many similarities with Twitter; in a sense, you can share your thoughts and opinions about currents affairs and trends relevant to the nation. As they mention, “discussions on Indians Thoughts.” As of February 2021, the app has more than 3 million users. Clearly intended and targeted towards Indian demographic.
How does it work?
Much like you “tweet” on Twitter, you “Koo” your opinions on the app Koo. With the limit of 400 characters, you can share your messages and posts or rather “Koos” with others, share existing ones (retweet), etc., on their feed. However, you aren’t limited to only English. Users can interact in their native language or any other regional language of their choice.
The platform also supports other multimedia modes, like audio and video. Therefore you can either “Koo” your video or audio or text or a combination of all.
It is straightforward to set up an account on Koo after downloading the app. The app asks for personal details like contact number, email address, name, etc. While some pieces are relevant, some are unnecessary, for example, gender, marital status.
This has raised concerns with a few users since why would a social media application need this particular piece of information. It could possibly used to target ads to users but we will have to wait and see. Once you setup the account, the drill is pretty much the same. You can follow people, share and express your “Koos,” and follow the latest trending hashtags.
Prominent Accounts On Koo
After the kerfuffle between Twitter and the government linked to the farmers’ protest, Koo emerged as a nation-friendly alternative. Many Indian celebrities, journalists, and politicians endorsed the app, signifying its “aatmanirbharta.” Some prominent users are Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, Isha Foundation’s Jaggi Vasudev, Law & IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Members of Parliament Tejasvi Surya and Shobha Karandlaje. Kangana Ranaut, Anupam Kher, Smriti Irani have also joined the group.
Other prominent government departments like the ministry of railways, the Union IT Ministry, India Post, and the Niti Aayog have also set up accounts on the app. Prime minister Narendra Modi has also mentioned the Koo app in his Mann ki Baat although he isn’t an active user of the app yet.
It has become the preferred alternative for many patriots. And While Koo does have all the features of Twitter and a few additional ones, how safe and secure is it in terms of privacy; Only time will tell since there were already a few allegations of data leaks.