Here are 8 India-made alternatives to your favourite apps you can try today
The originating country of an app is not the only deciding factor if it will be successful - but some of these ‘desi apps’ have become extremely popular since the apps were banned
Last July, the government announced that it had banned 59 Chinese apps in the country over security concerns, citing the threat they posed to the country's sovereignty and security. The ban was later extended to 118 apps in September and then another 43 in November. Many of these apps were very popular before they were banned, so naturally, locally made versions of the app sprung up to fill the vacuum they left.
While the originating country of an app is not the only deciding factor of its success story, some of these ‘desi apps' have managed to become extremely popular since the international apps were banned - some have even gone on to form partnerships with large media houses for increased exposure and reach.
Here are some of the most popular desi alternatives that you can consider if you are looking to find apps to replace your favourite ones:
Replace PUBG with FAU-G
You've probably been living under a rock if you haven't heard of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) before it was banned. The wildly popular free-to-play and battle royale got an Indian competitor, FAU-G, soon after it was banned. While the gameplay is different and FAU-G isn't a battle royale game, it has already amassed 50 lakh downloads on Google Play store. We reported when the game hit the top spot on the free games section of the Play store and also had a chat with nCore games founder Vishal Gondal.
Replace Twitter with Koo
Unlike many alternatives to popular apps that slowly lose momentum after an initial download frenzy, Koo has managed to ensure people continue using its platform due to two business decisions - partnering with a major TV news channel who uses the platform during the prime time debates instead of Twitter, and support for various regional languages which is a big selling point for non-English speakers.
Replace CamScanner with Kaagaaz Scanner
CamScanner was probably the most widely used document scanning app before the app ban and people simply couldn't stop using it, despite widespread ads and one incident when CamScanner was caught distributing malware through an ad network in the app. In place of CamScanner, you can download Kaagaz Scanner which has more than 15 lakh downloads and promises no ads inside the app, according to its Play Store description.
Replace Clubhouse with Leher
Clubhouse may have just amassed 80 lakh users and Elon Musk may be inviting Vladimir Putin for a chat on the super exclusive voice-based discussion app, but if you don't have an iPhone and don't have a friend who is already on the app - you're completely out of luck. It was also revealed that Clubhouse had security flaws recently due to a Chinese partner, so you can replace the app with Indian alternative Leher, that allows you to share both video and audio on its platform. What's more, it works on both Android and iOS and doesn't require an invite.
Replace WhatsApp with Sandes
We covered the Indian Government's new WhatsApp alternative - Sandes. While it an upgrade to the existing Government Instant Messaging System (GIMS), which was available to government users, the new app can be used by private individuals too. The app also has lots of WhatsApp-like features like message broadcasts, support for sending photos and videos, mark messages as favourites, and so on.
Replace Google Drive and iCloud with Digiboxx
Google Drive and iCloud are the default cloud storage apps and services for iOS and Android and have tight integration with the system, but that doesn't mean you have to use them to store your files. Indian alternative Digiboxx touts itself as the first truly Swadeshi Digital Storage Management Platform is a great alternative to apps like Dropbox and Google Drive and is available in eight Indian languages.
Replace TikTok with ShareChat
TikTok is probably the most popular short video sharing application in the world, thanks to its algorithms and the viral short video format. After TikTok was banned in the country, several apps emerged as alternatives - one of them was ShareChat, which also includes additional features like Chat Rooms, as well as a bank of content for WhatsApp forwards and Status. Did we mention the app is also available in Hindi, Telugu, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Malayalam, Bengali, Tamil, Kannada, Odia, Bhojpuri, Assamese, Rajasthani, Haryanvi and Urdu?
Replace SHAREit with Tejas
We've already reported that cybersecurity firm Trend Micro has warned that the SHAREit app, which has a billion users, contains security flaws that can be misused by an attacker to the control of a users phone. You can replace SHAREit with Tejas, which will transfer your files wirelessly between devices that have the same app installed.