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Hindi Version Of Chatting Site Cherple Launched

Cherple, which allows Internet users to send SMSs to mobile users in US, has launched a local version called Cherple.in as part of its global expansion.

The launch of Cherple's local services comes at a time when India has become the third largest Internet market in the world with 112 million online users, according to a recent IAMAI study. The new site Cherple.in is in Hindi and allows you to send an SMS in the language to any mobile user residing in US. The site is free to use.

Cherple has launched local versions of the site in India, Philippines, Mexico and Brazil and plans to launch in Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam next year.

Cherple was created by US-based Globaltel Media, which has run Cherple.com in the US since 2007. The idea behind Cherple is to allow online users to communicate with mobile users without requiring downloads or registration. It can be accessed from any Internet device such as a Tablet or a laptop or your phone browser and the recipient does not need to use any specific app.

Globaltel expects to expand its operations and partner with cellular operators and advertisers in India. "With SMS traffic through the Hindi site expected to top ten million SMS messages per month, our partners will be critical to the initial performance and plans for expansion," said Robert Sanchez, president and CEO, Globaltel Media.

Review: On the left column on Cherple.in, you add your name, the recipient's name and his number. When both users accept the terms and conditions at either end, the chat is initiated.

It appears like a chat conversation to the online user, but messages are received in the SMS inbox by the recipient, after some delay. Unfortunately, since incoming messages are charged in the US, the conversation did not last long.

And - more significantly - the actual conversation is not in Hindi. It is only the instructions and content on the website, making this no more than a superficial attempt by Globaltel.

Our Take:

While the launch of such a service is welcome, the service has restrictions. For example, you can send an SMS to anyone in US, but not to any other country. If the company was targeting the Indian diaspora, allowing users to send Hindi SMSs to their relatives across the world – in the Middle East, South East Asia and Australia – would be expected. Also, the messages are bare-boned. They are no standard greetings and rich media additions that could be used for the festive season.

Rush For Indic Language Services:

In India, there has been a growth in focus on enfolding Indic languages into digital media such as Internet and mobile. Recently, Google updated its app Google Translate for iPhone by adding five more languages - Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu. Text to speech software in six Indian languages - Hindi, Marathi, Bangla, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam – and an online Optical Character Recognition service (OCR) for Hindi and Punjabi was launched by the Indian government.

Indian start-ups such as Noida-based startup Luna Ergonomics Pvt Ltd, Tachyon Technologies and Eterno Infotech are contributing largely to the adoption of regional language content in the country with services and apps that allow users to communicate in the language of their choice.

Luna's flagship mobile application Panini Keypad supports over 22 languages including Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Oriya, Punjabi (Gurumukhi), Assamese, Korean and Mandarin. Lipikaar, a Pune-based company, offers typing software for 18 Indian languages. Tachyon is backed by Internet firm Rediff.com and offers an app called Quillpad while Eterno offers IndiSMS, a transliteration app.

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