Yoga guru Ramdev's dream 'swadeshi' messaging app 'Kimbho' that aimed to give Facebook-owned WhatsApp a run for its money but was taken down from app stores last year owing to privacy concerns is still 'on hold', say company executives.
The Kimbho app, launched with much fanfare last year from the house of Patanjali Ayurved, promised features such as chat, multimedia, voice and video calling, video conferencing and collaboration.
Kimbho is a Sanskrit word which means "how are you" or "what's new'. The app disappeared from the Google Play Store and App Store after users raised security concerns.
A trial version reappeared in August with Patanjali Ayurved promising a final version in couple of days. This version, however is yet to see the light of the day.
Patanjali, however, appears not to have given up on it completely yet.
According to Abhitab Saxena, Senior Vice President and Head of Information Technology at Patanjali, the Kimbho app is on hold for now.
"Baba Ramdev Ji and Acharya Balkrishna ji will announce it at a press conference if anything comes up. As for now, the 'Kimbho app' is on hold," Saxena told IANS.
When asked about the recent status of the app and the future plans for Kimbho app, Saxena said that it is "confidential".
"We will provide an update if anything happens, only Balkrishna Ji can give a clear image about the app's status and everything related to the Kimbho app," he added.
To run a messaging app like WhatsApp requires top-of-the-line IT infrastructure.
According to Anoop Mishra, one of the nation's leading social media experts, "you need a team of Open Source experts, Cloud and content delivery network (CDN) experts, data engineers, an in-house team of core developers, API developers, user interface (UI) developers, in-house testing team and user data simulation team", to run an app like WhatsApp.
"You also need an outsourced hacking team which keeps finding the loopholes in the existing system which was completely missing in 'Kimbho' which was a poorly-scripted app," Mishra added.
S.K. Tijarawala, the national spokesperson of Patanjali Ayurved, did not respond to the questions about the status of the app.
To build and run a world-class messaging app requires a huge investment of time, tech expertise and money -- and eventually needs 10 times more investment for handling servers, security issues and data breaches.
Whether Patanjali would make a fresh attempt to launch the messaging app with full preparation is still not clear but the firm still appears hopeful as it has not yet admitted to shelving it completely.