New Delhi: On Monday, Bharti and SoftBank joint venture Hike messenger, launched a Hindi news feed in its app after seeing a hit of 100 million English news stories per week.
The news feed will allow users to access nuggets of news reports across politics, sports, entertainment, technology and other categories in Hindi.
“We have carefully studied content consumption patterns of our user base and Hike being an Indian app, we are happy that now our users can read news in Hindi.
Users can switch between Hindi and English news by tapping a button. We believe this is a step forward as we embark on our journey to bring India online in a locally relevant way,” said Kavin Bharti Mittal, founder of Hike.
Hike, which currently has 1.5 million users subscribed to its English news feed, said it would soon launch news feeds in other local languages which will aid the messaging platform to increase its user base in the country.
Currently, hike has 35 million registered users. Other popular rivals like Whatsapp and Viber have a user base of 900 million and over 40 million, respectively.
Betting big on safeguarding data along with seamless backup, Hike Sticker Chat — a dedicated platform aimed to deliver a sticker-centric chat experience — will now encrypt users’ data with nearly military-grade encryption, Kavin Bharti Mittal, Founder and CEO, Hike said here on Thursday.
Along with advanced encryption, the company has also introduced auto backup, to make switching from one device to another easier without manually backing up or restoring user data.
“As part of the update, we’re encrypting data with 128 bit advanced encryption standard (AES) and 2048-bit RSA which is one step away from military-grade encryption. All data on the platform is backed up on our own Cloud. We do that to keep our data extra secure.
“The encryption is happening for both data in transit and in rest, which means that if I’m exchanging data back and forth, the data in transit is encrypted and even if it is sitting on our servers, it is still encrypted there,” Kavin who is son of business tycoon Sunil Bharti Mittal, told IANS in a freewheeling chat. This level of encryption is even not available on Facebook-owned WhatsApp, even as the company says user data is end-to-end encrypted.
When asked how a user would back up messages, Mittal said: “They don’t need to. The data transfer happens just as a user enters their existing mobile number and then enter the four-digit PIN they receive on the new device”. Once a user logs in on a new device, they’re automatically logged out of the old device once the data becomes available on the new hardware.
“The auto backup will now make the whole backup and restore process a thing of the past and it is actually a painful process people have to undergo. The auto backup on our platform is synced all the time. No matter if you change the phone or reinstall the application, your data is synced within seconds,” Kavin explained.
The company is also launching Hike Web which, unlike WhatsApp Web, lets users enter their mobile number and then type four-digit PIN they receive on their device to access the platform on web. WhatsApp Web still requires users to sign in by scanning a QR code on their device. The web version is currently available in public beta and Hike is slated to roll out updates to bring new features on a regular basis.
Launched in April, Hike Sticker Chat app uses stickers as a foundation and aims to reduce people’s dependency on the keyboard. Currently, there are 40,000 stickers available in more than 40 Indian languages and dialects and the company is aiming to introduce more regional languages. According to Mittal, Hindi is currently the most sought-after language on the platform.
“We aim to have 100,000 stickers across various languages by the end of the year and to cover a larger percentage of every major Indian language’s vocabulary,” added Kavin. The platform currently has over one million Weekly Active Users (WAUs) who spend 33 minutes inside the app, exchanging over 55 million stickers weekly. (IANS)