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WHATSAPP ALTERNATIVE "ARATTAI" : DEVELOPED BY ZOHO

"ARATTAI" has already seen over 10,000 downloads on the Google Play Store. 

At a time when people are looking to move away from WhatsApp to a more secure messaging app, Chennai-based software as a service (Saas) company ZOHO has launched a made-in-India 'secure' messaging app called "ARATTAI".

"ARATTAI", which means chat in Tamil, is currently under a 'friend-and-family trial' release and will be launched formally in a few weeks, Sridhar Vembu, CEO of ZOHO tweeted on sunday. However, the app, which was under beta testing with employees over the past few weeks, is available for public download on both the Google Play Store and Apple's App Store. Google Play Store shows that the app has already seen over 10,000 downloads.

WHAT DATA DOES ARATTAI COLLECT ?

Similar to WhatsApp, ARATTAI says it might ask you to provide personal information such as profile name, phone number with country code, address, usage data and other optional info such as profile picture and contacts in your address book. "Usage data could include information such as the type of mobile device you use, your mobile device unique ID, the IP address of your mobile device, your mobile operating system, the type of mobile internet browser you use and other diagnostic data," ARATTAI'S privacy policy states.

MESSAGES

ARATTAI'S messages are currently not end-to-end encrypted. Sridhar said that this features is being worked on and will be introduced during the app's formal launch. End-to end encryption means that neither the app and service provider nor third parties can access or read your messages. WhatsApp messages, for example, are end-to-end encrypted.

WHO DOES ARATTAI SHARE YOUR DATA WITH ?

"ARATTAI" says that it doesn't share or disclose information it collects with any third parties without a user's prior consent. However, ARATTAI says that it might need to share user data with its employees, business partners, reselling partners and other third party service providers engaged by the app to assist it in rendering the service. Such sharing occurs only on a need-to-know basis and only with those who maintain appropriate confidentiality and security practices, we may also share the information with governmental agencies and other third parties in order to : 

(1) Comply with applicable laws.

(2) Protect the rights and safety of our users, employees and general public.

(3) To prevent fraud," the privacy policy further states.

"ARATTAI", however, says that it does not sell or trade the information it collects with respect to your use of the application. While users will be required to provide basic personal information to register for the app, ARATTAI says that if it decides to use a user's personal information for any purpose other than as stated in this privacy policy, it will offer users an "effective way to opt out of the use of your personal information for those other purposes".

ARATTAI'S FEATURES

As per reports, ARATTAI is similar to any messaging app with similar features. It can accommodate about 1,000 users in a group chat and six people in video calls, as per a TOI report.

Sridhar said in his tweet on sunday that there is a lot more in store. The TOI report also states that ZOHO is working on more features such as secret chats, payment linkages, managing expenses, among others.

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