An upgrade to India’s Government Instant Messaging System (GIMS) has been launched. Sandes is the name of the new app and it is set to replace WhatsApp and other messaging apps in the country. Sandes was recently launched by the National Information Centre (NIC).
Unlike the existing Government Instant Messaging System (GIMS) which was created for government officials only, Sandes can be used by all and sundry. The GIMS was strictly designed for government officials to give them a communication platform similar to WhatsApp’s. Sandes is Hindu for ‘message’ and can be used by anyone who wishes to.
The Indian answer to WhatsApp is available for download on Google play store for Android devices and from Apple store for Apple’s IOS devices. Sandes works on iPhones, iPad and even the iPod Touch that’s on iOS 12.0 and above.
Signing up on the application requires a valid phone number or a valid email. Interestingly, the app’s features are similar to WhatsApp’s. A user can star messages or mark them as favourites and can send message broadcast. Users can also create groups and send multimedia messages like photos and videos to other users on Sandes. Like WhatsApp, as well as other instant messaging apps, they claim to support end-to-end encryption.
The first step to signing up is getting the app installed on your phone. After installing the pp on your phone you’ll need to register using your phone number or your email address. After providing your phone number or your email address, you will receive a six-digit one-time password for verification. Once verified, your account will be instantly created. You can afterwards set your profile and probably write a short description of yourself, just like it is on WhatsApp.
The Sandes messaging app may be similar to WhatsApp, it differs from WhatsApp in certain ways. For instance, WhatsApp requires a phone number to sign up, but this is a lax rule with Sandes, you can either use a phone number or an email ID, whichever you please. Government officials who use it get verified accounts, whereas WhatsApp has no verified accounts for anyone. WhatsApp allows a user to change number, but this is different with Sandes, a user’s phone number or email ID cannot be changed once signed up.
While the government has already sent out a circular asking its employees to use the app for communication, Sandes is yet to go viral.