Instagram may be introducing an Hindi user interface for Indian users in big localisation move

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  • Instagram has been spotted testing a ‘Hindi’ version of its user interface by a user on Twitter.
  • Screenshots show that, along with Instagram, the company might also roll out Hindi on Instagram TV.
  • The move towards localisation, combined with the recent launch of Instagram Lite, may pose stiff competition for Snapchat and ShareChat.
After Google, Instagram appears to be localising its platforms to accommodate Indian languages, prepping its user interface to support Hindi.

A twitter user, Jane Manchun Wong, who spotted the development, shared screenshots of the trial version where most usernames showed up in Hindi while some were still in English.



And, it’s not just for Instagram but for Instagram TV (IGTV) as well, according to the posts.

The development isn’t all that surprising since Facebook and WhatsApp — all under Facebook’s umbrella — already support multiple Indian languages. Not to mention that India is home to Instagram’s second largest user base, after the United States.

It’s unclear if the roll out will happen on Android or iOS. As of now, instances of Instagram in Hindi have only been spotted on the ‘alpha’ version of the app and phones that are running Android Oreo.

It also remains to be seen how Instagram users’ feed in India will adjust to the new changes. Facebook’s algorithm, for example, already pulls in local content onto its feed.

Localised competition

Instagram’s new Hindi initiative, along with the Instagram Lite app, may make for a threatening combination against India’s local ShareChat platform, which has been booming because of accessibility in local Indian languages.

Meanwhile, Instagram’s main competitor, Snapchat, recently appointed their first executive in India to capitalise on the growing user base in the country. Even Amazon launched their Hindi portal in September, ahead of the festive seasons to increase their user base.

The trend of localisation is emerging in India for two main reasons: the number of Hindi users is expected to surpass the number of English internet users in India by 2021, according to the KPMG report; India is also where the ‘ next billion users’ will reside as per Google’s strategy.

The added support for Indian languages, or Hindi specifically, isn’t only about reaching people who can’t communicate in English but about reaching the most remote parts of the country where the advent of Internet penetration has brought in greater accessibility to online services.
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