Start-ups connect India with novel features in times of coronavirus

At a time when communication over social media platforms has become a life-saving tool for many during the Covid-19 crisis, start-ups such as Koo and Chingari are coming up with novel features to keep people connected.


While Koo has launched a Talk-to-Type feature via which users can speak their thoughts out loud and words will show up on the screen without using a keypad or keyboard, Chingari has taken a cue from ClubHouse to roll out an audio-only social media app called fireside that will help users interact in a complete audio format, bringing a paradigm shift to the way Indians converse online.


The app will also have 24x7 Covid helpline rooms where people can drop in and relay their requests for help. On Chingari’s app, fireside users can chat about anything to stay up to date and listen and learn as a member of the audience during audio sessions. From workshops to debates, from fan-fiction to candid confessions, this platform aims to be an outlet for whoever wishes to speak and to listen, the company said.


“The pandemic has imbued uncertainty and isolation, leaving people craving for human interaction. Fireside enables users to listen to the voice of their loved ones by bridging emotional gaps, leaving them emotionally touched and connected. With a keen focus on building rich communities, fireside aims to cater to the Indian market with clubs and groups that are tailored to suit local needs and sensibilities,” said Sumit Ghosh, CEO and co-founder, fireside and Chingari.


Being touted by Kalaari Capital-backed Koo as the easiest way to share thoughts with people in a native Indian language, its new Talk-to-Type feature will be available in regional languages such as Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, and Bengali.


“India language speakers can now speak their mind and the words will show up on the screen magically. For those who found it difficult to type in local languages, this feature removes all that pain. We will keep adding value to Indians by enabling the easiest localised forms of expression and present their thoughts to India in a seamless way,” said Aprameya Radhakrishna, co-founder, Koo. According to the company, it is the first social platform in the world to launch such a feature. “Our mission at Koo is to connect India and enable a billion Indian voices to express themselves freely in their mother tongue. We will keep simplifying expressions for anybody who wants to connect with their audiences,” said Mayank Bidawatka, co-founder, Koo.

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