Here’s what’s up with Kimbho, the Indian messaging app that wants to take on WhatsApp

Here’s what’s up with Kimbho, the Indian messaging app that wants to take on WhatsApp
Yoga guru Ramdev during the launch of 'Mission Fit India', in New Delhi on Monday, June 04, 2018. (Photo)
  • Kimbho app was launched under the Patanjali banner about a week ago.
  • It was soon pulled from the Play Store after its security flaws were exposed.
  • Acharya Balkrishna, co-founder of Patanjali, says that the app will be available again once it has been fixed.
An Indian billionaire, Acharya Balkrishna and his partner, the celebrity yoga guru, Baba Ramdev have been creating waves with their new messaging app, Kimbho. And, they have no plans of giving up even after having to pull the app from the Play Store after its initial launch.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Balkrishna stated that the app won’t be available again until it’s been properly vetted by a team of hacking experts and security specialists. He reiterated that Kimbho would likely make a return once all the security and privacy issues have been addressed.

But why messaging?

The question really is, why not?

Between the two of them, that is Balkrishna and Baba Ramdev, they’ve already built a business empire that has an annual revenue stream of ₹111.41 billion ($1.65 billion). Propagating ‘swadeshi’ goods, Patanjali Ayurved claims to sell only home-grown and all-natural products.

So, when there’s an app like WhatsApp dominating in India but isn’t of Indian origin, why not build something local? It’s not surprising that in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal that Balkrishna would want to build a messaging app that keeps user’s data within India.

Not to mention that currently, India is the world’s fastest growing economy with a consumer base of 1.3 billion.

Kimbho a.k.a. What’s up?

Building on the hype of Patanjali’s Samriddhi Swadeshi SIM cards, the Kimbho app managed to attract 10,000 installs within 24 hours of being announced. And, that’s pretty much when things got weird.

First, a French security researcher who’s known for pointing out the security flaws with India’s government portals like the Aadhar App, pointed out how Kimbho basically has no security whatsoever.

This was followed by a barrage of tweets claiming how inconsistent the app was and how the interface, and even the content, was directly copied from another app called Bolo.
And then came the disappearing act. The official statement is that the ‘servers are being upgraded’.
That being said, speculations also point towards Apple or Google being responsible since Kimbho was essentially trying to become the ‘swadeshi’ WhatsApp. Not that they were trying to hide it.
It’s hardly been a week since these events unfolded and there’s already a horde of fake apps in the Play Store trying to emulate Baba Ramdev’s messaging app. Forget the security issues discovered by Baptiste Robert, the fake ones pose a greater threat posing as potential malware and ground for cyber attacks.

Here’s what’s up with Kimbho, the Indian messaging app that wants to take on WhatsApp