The popular social media platforms have been hitting the headlines for regulation of their privacy policies and content optimization.
Twitter has been on news recently for having ignored a directive from the government to suspend several handles that were allegedly propagating misinformation.
Moreover, amid accusations that the micro-blogging platform had an anti-right-wing bias, a number of politicians and celebrities have also migrated to an Indian alternative named Koo, urging others to follow suit.
Sandes: Government’s version of instant messaging app
The Government’s version of instant messaging app, Sandes, is now accessible to everyone as previously its accessibility was confined to the government officials only.
Sandes has been launched by the National Informatics Centre (NIC), giving a boost to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Digital and Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiative.
Aimed to be a suitable alternative to WhatsApp, Sandes is an end-to-end encrypted messaging app.
According to conformed sources, two such apps are being tested in their beta stage. They have been codenamed Samvad and Sandes, which literally translates to “conversation” and “message”, respectively.
“These apps are being developed completely by the government of India. It is going to be an instant messaging app like WhatsApp,” said a MeITY functionary. According to these sources, the government also has plans for an app called GIMS – Government Instant Messaging Service – meant only for government of India employees to communicate.
Features of the Sandes app
The app is free to use and one may find no ads displayed during the usage of the app. While searching for the app, you can find it under the name of GIMS (Government Instant Messaging System). However, it is called Sandes by the government only.
Sandes shares a similar interface to WhatsApp and almost all its features are similar to that of WhatsApp.
However, there are some notable differences between these two instant messaging apps.
While you cannot log in or sign up using your email id in WhatsApp, you have the option to log in or sign up using your email id while using Sandes.
One can find a lot of verified accounts on Sandes while such a facility is not available on WhatsApp.
Coming to data sharing, one can share videos and photos up to 500MB which is more than the data sharing limit of WhatsApp. One can share videos with 16MB limit in size and regular files up to 100MB on WhatsApp.
While WhatsApp lets you backup your chats and media only either to Google drive in case of Android users or iCloud on iOS, you can backup chats and media on your device and choose an external location to store the backup.
You can change your number without deleting your current existing profile. On the other hand, Sandes does not allow that feature. After successfully creating your account, you cannot delete your number or email ID. In case you get a new number or have lost your email id, you will have to create a new account else you will lose access to your account.
Currently, WhatsApp does not support any fingerprint lock feature and screen lock feature.
Sandes lets you check weather details of your city in the app. You can add priority or confidential labels to messages, which is interesting. There is also a section called “Gimoji,” which displays symbols used in official communication.
Features like broadcast message, status, disappearing messages, forward messages, delete messages, archive chats and more, are available on Sandes app. You can create a group and add at least 50 members. Sandes also offers an option to sync contacts and add new contacts who are using the same platform. Anyone can add you to a group on this instant messaging app and there is no invitation system.