In lieu with the recent WhatsApp controversy, the Indian government was trying to commercialize a desi replacement for it. The new app had to be completely free of any sort of privacy concerns. Now, it looks like we’ve found the ideal candidate.

‘Sandes’ would now be the Indian government’s official app for sending and receiving messages. It’d be available on both Android and iOS along with a web version for desktops and tablets.

This app is a direct reflection upon the success of the central government’s Digital India and Aatmanirbhar Bharat projects. Launched by National Information Center (NIC), Sandes comes with the essential end-to-end encryption service. Its policy clearly states that the user’s personal data won’t be shared with any third party. Of course, this won’t be applicable for any legal matters where evidence from messaging app is necessary.

Additionally, there won’t be any ads, taking care of the nuisance factor. The features and user interface of Sandes are almost identical to WhatsApp. One major difference between the two is the ability to use e-mail instead of a phone number using Sandes. However, it is currently limited to only Government officials. Verified accounts would also be visible on Sandes, which isn’t there on WhatsApp. The maximum sharing range for photos and videos is also significantly higher than WhatsApp at 500MB. Also, any other email service can be used to back up your data, other than Google Drive.

The only few drawbacks of Sandes are the inability to change your phone number or e-mail after registration, lack of screen lock and fingerprint features, and inability to check when the recipient read the message. However, other features like forwarding, deleting, or disappearing messages, broadcast management, and status, are available.

If not available on the Play Store in your region, then Sandes can also be downloaded from www.gims.gob.in/dash/dlink.

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