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Koo App: Things to Know About India Micro-Blogging Platform

Twitter has been an important public relations platform for the government for years. In recent months, however, many ministries and high-profile personalities, including Bollywood actors, have also gradually started using a new Indian alternative - Koo. But the chief matter of concern about this most recently hyped up app is whether it's really all the glitters or just another grass that looks greener on the other side of the fence. Let's find it out.

After the Centre criticized Twitter on Wednesday, 10th Feb 2021 for failing to comply with its directives to take down certain provocative contents, the app started trending and warned the social media giant that it needs to comply with Indian laws. As it encourages Aatmanirbhar Bharat by providing a Twitter-like experience, but in Indian languages, Koo, an Indian equivalent to Twitter, has become the subject of much controversy and attraction. It is available on both iOS and Android as an app and has a website as well. Koo App is the winner of the 2020 Aatmanirbhar Bharat app challenge from the government.

What is Koo and why is it recently in so much boom?

• Koo was unveiled last year in March and it won the AatmaNirbhar Bharat Innovate Challenge of Digital India, which seeks the best Indian apps that can become world-class apps.

Aprameya Radhakrishna, who is the co-founder and CEO, designed it. Along with Mayank Bidawatka, both MBA graduates, or business management graduates, founded Koo but often the real credit goes to Radhakrishna. The pair are also the founders of Vokal, similar to Quora, an audio-video knowledge-sharing site.

• Not exactly but much the same as Twitter, Koo is a popular social media micro-blogging service where members can freely share their viewpoints.

• As per the 'about' portion on the Koo website, the main premise behind the app was to empower Indian citizens to voice their thoughts in any local languages they are comfortable in and as well as in English.

• Labelled for being the driving creativity in technology, the app is a great initiative for Self-dependent Bharat and promises to provide a great experience for its fellow Indian members.

• It allows members to follow individuals and browse through a feed. Members can write messages in text or share them in audio or video formats.

• It also enables members, to post multimedia content including audio clips. A text post is limited to 400 characters and six Indian languages (Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati) are assisted, including English, by the service. 

• Last week, new and current investors, including venture capital firms Accel and 3one4 Capital, raised over $4 million in funding from the app.

• Koo's logo is, like Twitter, a bird, albeit yellow in color. It enables members to use hashtags (#) or mentions with the @ symbol. 

• The app also allows members to re-Koo, a retweet and chat version of Koo, instead of a direct message.

Recent Controversy About Koo App

The controversy started amid the Indian government and Twitter's continuing dispute. The government allegedly ordered Twitter to suspend over 1,000 accounts that it claimed were spreading rumors about the protests and inflammatory posts. Twitter disagreed with this and claimed that it would not take any action on the profiles of media organizations, writers, activists, and politicians.

After Union Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted about entering the indigenous microblogging site, Koo got back into the mainstream. Perhaps not just Goyal, there are several other senior politicians using Koo, including Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Electronics and IT, and BS Yediyurappa, Chief Minister of Karnataka. And among many others from departments and government ministries, are also part of the Koo family such as the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY), the Central Indirect Tax Board (CBIC), the National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT), India Post, MyGovIndia, Digital India, and National Informatics Centre (NIC).

Apart from its sudden surge in popularity after the controversy, what makes this app so special?

The language English is spoken by only 10 percent of Indian population. In India, almost 1 billion folks wouldn't understand English. They use one of India's 100 languages rather. Since now everyone have access to smartphones and economical internet, they would love to use their language on the internet. Koo is highly aiming to overcome this setback. Koo is an effort to make the voice of the voiceless to be heard. By listening to the opinions of some of the sharpest Indian minds, we can now participate in our mother tongue on the internet and also speak our minds by sharing our opinions. It's a great initiative so far and should be highly promoted. Plus it’s very easy to assess and it’s totally free of cost.

Founder’s Designation of Koo App

In some ways, the sudden rise in the profile of Koo can be contrasted with the increase in the availability of digital payment apps in India following a ban on high-value currency notes in late 2016, Koo’s co-founder Bidawatka told Reuters news agency. Koo said over the past few days, downloads have surged 10-fold. After Twitter’s unwillingness to delete some Indian accounts and tweets, according to Radhakrishna, it continued to see an unprecedented increase of 10-20x growth in new users, compared to a typical day. Radhakrishna, co-founder and CEO of Koo, admitted that he is improving the infrastructure of Koo and tripling its engineering manpower to be capable of hosting more top-notch names, including, PM Narendra Modi, if joins.

How to Download Koo App on Andoird and iOS Device?

On both Android and iOS, Koo is a free app accessible. Members can go to Google Play and check for "Koo". On Google Play, the app is called 'Koo: Connect with Indians in Indian Languages.' Download Koo App on Android.

In the App Store, it is only called "Koo" with Bombinate Technologies Private Limited as the supplier. Download Koo App on iOS.

To be guided to a download page, you can go to the website and click on the Google Play or App Store download options. Or direct download link is given above.

The Koo app has an average rating of 4.7 stars on the Google Play Store and 4.1 on the iOS App Store.


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