Signal co-founder Brian Acton said on WhatsApp and the future of private messaging, building for India means building for the whole world.
Telegram like Signal has now emerged as an alternative to WhatsApp. Apart from this, these apps have also got good endorsements from Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma, who have openly supported Signal and Telegram in place of WhatsApp.
Meanwhile, WhatsApp is clarifying regarding its policy update that it will not make any difference to the data and privacy of regular users. But meanwhile, a large number of users are continuously increasing on apps like Signal and Telegram which have emerged as alternatives to WhatsApp.
Signal is run by a non-profit organization. Its co-founder is Brian Acton, who has also been the founder of WhatsApp. Acton and Jan Koum sold WhatsApp to Facebook in 2014. After this, Acton left the company in 2017, the reason behind which was said to be that Facebook had some dispute regarding the monetization of WhatsApp.
NDTV has now taken an interview of Acton, in which he has given information about Signal's Indian plans. Apart from the donation only business model, he has given information about how the Signal platform is different from WhatsApp.
NDTV: Signal is currently at the top on the global app store. With signal growth, at what speed is the signal moving?
Brian Acton's answer: We are expanding our servers so that we have enough capacity for our users. As the number of people on our app has increased, we have managed it. Obviously I have this kind of experience because I have been in the industry for a long time. Additionally, we are excited because a lot of Indians have signed up to Signal in the recent past. We are eager to get feedback on our platform from Indian users. I know people are eager to try and explore Signal and this is an opportunity for us to move forward.
Signal is now being compared to WhatsApp. Are your two products now competing with each other? How do you like it? What are the features in Signal that make it ahead of WhatsApp?
I think where Signal could be seen scoring ahead of WhatsApp is in the privacy category. You can see this as a privacy label on iPhone apps in the App Store. We have things like privacy features, disappearing messages. Everything here is encrypted, including metadata. WhatsApp has 40 crore users in India. This is a big market. We are eager to introduce our products to Indian users. We want to give them an option where they will not have to compromise with their online privacy, digital privacy.
Signal has so far relied on phone numbers that are still linked to users' identities. Are you planning to introduce user ID which will make the users completely safe?
I think we can work on these ideas. This will provide another help to users for privacy protection. Our objective is to secure the privacy of users, to which we are committed. This is the feature we get the most suggestions about.
What are your plans for growth in India? Will you also bring language support to move ahead in India? Apart from this, will some new features be added there according to India?
India is a country with a diverse culture. We are already providing language support there. We are providing support in 12 different languages including Hindi. This also includes Urdu. We have got some good suggestions from India. I have very good friends and colleagues in India who live in Erode, Tamil Nadu. I talk to him every day. He tells me what is going on in India. This helps me understand the market there. He gives me product ideas. India is such a strong representative country of the world that if you build for India, you will build for the world.
Have you ever been to India? When can we see you in India?
Yes, I have been to India twice. I have visited there in Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi and other places. I want to see the Taj Mahal, which I have not seen yet. Although I also want to go back to Bangalore and Mumbai.
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