Sandes, an Indian government alternative to WhatsApp and other instant messaging apps, has been launched by the National Informatics Centre (NIC). The new platform is an upgrade to the existing Government Instant Messaging System (GIMS) that was developed to provide government officials with a WhatsApp-like communication app. The Sandes app can be used by both government officials and individual users. It requires a mobile number or government email ID for sign up. Once signed up, users can send and receive messages as well as new create groups or send multimedia content such as images and videos.
iOS users can download the Sandes app via Apple App Store, while Android users can get the APK file via GIMS portal. For Apple users, the app is compatible with the iPhone, iPad, and the iPod touch running on at least iOS/iPadOS 12.0. The official app description notes that the messaging platform allows government officials, friends, and families to connect. “Your chats are secured with end to end encryption. The platform supports audio/video calls and multimedia and file sharing,” the description adds. Similar to WhatsApp, other features on Sandes include contact sharing, message styling, message tagging, back-up and restore, phone book synchronisation, group chat, chatbots, broadcast messages, and more. At the bottom of the page, users can access Chats, Contacts, Groups, and Account. Similarly, the Contacts tab shows the designation of the individual, provided if the information is given.