Patanjali’s announcement of the launch of ‘Kimbho’ – the desi messenger app that would be India’s answer to Facebook-owned WhatsApp — on Wednesday, it created immense buzz over the prosepcts of a desi messenger app. Kimbho offered a number of features like WhatsApp and allowed users to share text, audio, photos, videos, stickers, quickies, location, GIFs, and doodle, according to its brief on the Google Play Store. The Android version of the app was developed by Patanjali Communication while the iOS app has been developed by Appdios Inc.
However, the app was removed from Google Play Store on Thursday, hours after its launch, leaving users confused. There were different theories on the internet suggesting various reasons as to why the app was taken down.
The company later clarified that it had launched the app only for a day and that too for technical testing. Patanjali spokesperson S K Tijarawala, in a tweet, thanked people for the good response and added that the technical work on the app is still in progress.
“We put our trial version of Kimbho app on Google Play Store and Apple Store for trial for a day only and we had witnessed around 1.5 lakh downloads in the first three hours. We thank the people for such encouraging response. Now it is no more available on any platform for download,” he added.
#पतंजलि ने #किम्भो एप मात्र 1 दिन के लिए प्ले स्टोर पर ट्रायल पर डाला था। मात्र 3 घंटे में ही 1.5 लाख लोग इसे डाउनलोड करने लगेेेे। हम इस भारी व उत्साहजनक रेस्पॉन्स के प्रति आभारी हैं।
Technical work is in progress &#KIMBHO APP will be officially launched soon @yogrishiramdev pic.twitter.com/hbcq8qpiPS
— tijarawala sk (@tijarawala) May 31, 2018
Earlier in the day, well-known French security researcher Elliot Alderson, in a couple of tweets, had raised security and privacy concerns over Kimbho app. He had also posted a video showing how easy it was to ‘choose a security code between 0001 and 9999 and send it to the number of your choice’.
He had previously highlighted vulnerabilities in the mobile app of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and claimed that Kimbho is a copy of an existing messaging app by the name of ‘Bolo’. Alderson has also alleged that the app description and format of the OTP SMS for authentication for the Kimbho app were the same as one for Bolo.
The @KimbhoApp is a copy paste of another #application. The description and the screenshots in the app stores are the same. Moreover, the #Kimbho app is making request to bolomessenger[.]com pic.twitter.com/gOKOhash5X
— Elliot Alderson (@fs0c131y) May 31, 2018
Meanwhile, Advocate Prashant Mali, cyber security and cyber law expert said that the app is not secure and can put the data of Indians at risk.
“Baba Ramdev’s IT Team did the same thing as BHIM App. No or little testing was done and such incidents expose huge data of Indian citizens to risk. This incident gives a bad name to Make in India, Ramdev’s team should understand Make in India means not make only the label in India but the product too and cyber safe one,” he was quoted as saying by PTI.
Earlier this week, Patanjali had also formed an alliance with state-run BSNL to offer co-branded – Swadeshi Samriddhi SIM cards to its employees.