During the lockdown, an alternative app of Twitter, Koo, launched by Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidawatka, allows users to communicate in regional languages, which other big microblogging platforms lack with. The goal of Koo was to establish a microblogging platform that would enable individuals to communicate in a language that they were familiar with.
While Twitter, situated in San Francisco, has over 330 million users globally, the duo anticipated that just a fraction of Kannada speakers would be tweeting in their own language on the social media website. This caused a chasm in India, which has a plethora of regional languages and residents who prefer to communicate in their own languages rather than English.
Initially, the founders created a button within the Vokal app, their first product. The founders decided to create an app where users may talk in their regional languages after discovering that Vokal was developed in a Q&A structure similar to Quora, with videos and voices. They realized in addition to answering questions; they should also add the option of letting people share their points of view in regional languages. They started working on the Koo platform in December 2019, and the final product came in March 2020. Getting a good response from Mandya, where it was initially launched in Kannada, motivated them to start the app in Hindi after few months.
Mayank, the Co-Founder, said that the platform’s focus was to provide an immersive language experience. He also mentioned that Koo has been focusing on allowing individuals to express themselves in a language that they are familiar with. The presence of people on the platform is one of the reasons why celebrities visit. Many celebrities that joined the site early on began to receive a lot more attention and followers. Unlike other social media platforms, Koo allows influencers to connect with their local community and conduct dialogues with their fans about issues of common interest. He mentioned that the team did the experimenting as well, like Koo, for example, has a people feed that displays several carousels to aid in the discovering of new people. Like an Indian language journalist ‘Kooing’ on the platform, a journalist’s carousel will show the specific celebrity. Koo is already 18 months old, and they’ve already surpassed one crore downloads in just 16 months. Koo now supports eight languages and plans to add more soon. In order to bring microblogging to the general public, it has been effective to build compelling product experiences that enable microblogging for everyone in the most inclusive way possible. The majority of the chats on the Koo app revolve around the communities’ everyday ideas, events, and news trends. The app has all content management measures in place, including the ability to unfollow and block users, prohibit content, and hide or block comments. Mayank also shared that, in addition, the community offers methods for reporting content in several sub-sections. Mayank says that they have technology that can detect undesirable content. They use a vocabulary, for example, to identify problematic content bits, which the team then looks over and moderates. The machine determines the stuff that is problematic.
He also mentioned that they constructed everything and interviewed engineers on calls and Google Meets. Pandemic did make them go through different difficulties, and they often wished to be in their office to work efficiently and effectively. But everything turned out well, though, and the team is already working on multilingual feeds. Users can ‘Koo‘ in multiple languages on a single screen. Unlike other platforms, Koo users can just type their message and hit the Translate button to have it translated into other languages.