Sandes, which is an Indian government alternative to WhatsApp and other instant messaging apps, has been rolled out by the National Informatics Centre (NIC). This new platform will be an upgrade to the existing Government Instant Messaging System (GIMS) which was developed to provide government officials with a WhatsApp-like communication app.
This app can be used by both government officials as well as individual users. It requires a mobile number or government email ID for sign up. As soon as the user signs up, they can send and receive messages as well as new create groups or send multimedia content such as images and videos.
This app is similar to WhatsApp as well as all the other major instant messaging apps. Sandes (this translates to message in Hindi) says it uses end-to-end encrypted communication. It can be used for sending and receiving messages as well as for sharing images and videos between contacts. Also, it allows contact sharing and group chats.
Apart from this, users will also be able to broadcast messages or set certain messages as their favourite. As far as the sources in the government are concerned, there will be a second app, called Samvad (which means conversation) which is in the works.
“These apps are being developed completely by the government of India. It is going to be an instant messaging app like WhatsApp,” a MeITY was as quoted by NDTV.
Sandes vs WhatsApp
Now, the government’s Sandes app does carry a number of similarities with WhatsApp, but, then there are some notable differences, too. One of the biggest difference is the option to sign up using your email ID on the Sandes app.
As things start now, this is a restricted to government officials who can use their @gov.in email IDs to sign in. And this function is not there at all on WhatsApp though, and everyone needs a mobile number to sign up on the Facebook-owned messaging platform.
And, it should be mentioned here that the Sandes app also supports verified accounts for government employees. WhatsApp, on the other hand, does not have verified accounts for any individuals. The other big change here is that you will be able to see on Sandes is the option to send chat backups to a user-preferred external location, including email.