Welcome to What Speak, We’ve already come a long way from 160 characters limit of SMS, instant messing using 56K dial-up modems & online ‘scraps’ (Orkut anyone?)! In a study conducted by International Telecommunications Union on 2014, India holds the 2nd place in world on the basis of internet users, including mobile phones. Without diving into raw statistics & technical jargons, it is enough to conclude that the rise of low cost smartphones and lower internet tariffs help a lot to achieve this position. Now the question comes – what is the usage pattern of the internet users? Well, it’s quite predictable that majority of them are using internet to use social medias. Due to the sub-optimal infrastructure in India, it mayn’t always be possible to access those medias in a full-fledged manner; as for example Facebook launched a ‘lite’ version of their mobile client on Android to overcome the bandwidth limitations. In this context, mobile messaging apps jump into the market. They are relatively less-bulky, need lesser bandwidth & still give users the opportunity to share images & videos, create groups & even call via VoIP. Market surveys also reflect the fact: WhatsApp recently hits 900 million monthly users! The perceived high level of usage of these applications/platforms amongst different segments of society is inevitable. However, little is understood from empirical viewpoint about the intensity, of usage of these applications and its impact on the society. Being a social creature, human beings are always trying to create relationship with others, expand it & interact with others associated with the relationship to make it richer. With the help of messaging apps, the same workflow is controlled in a more sophisticated way, but it brings some unwanted problems as well. Let’s dig into dipper areas:
1. What should be unique used ID? Most of the messaging apps use mobile number as the ID. Then if someone wants to interact with another person, he/she must know the mobile number of the other one, which isn’t always feasible.
2. We can take another approach: store all of the user IDs/phone numbers in a central server & share it among all users, particularly with the new ones. Then what about the privacy issues?
3. How should we handle scammers & fake profiles?
4. What will be the benefit of the users & the service providers, in both monetary & social terms?
5. How can we ensure uninterrupted service where bandwidth is too limited & scarce?
6. What should be revenue generation model? Free/free with nagging ads/freemium/paid?