The beta version of Namaste, a video conferencing alternative to Zoom, is now live: Here's how it works

The app version of 'Say Namaste' is expected to launch this week for both Android and iOS users.

Zoom, a US-based video calling platform that surged in popularity during COVID-induced lockdowns has been in the news one too often for a variety of security and privacy faux pas in the last few days. These issues have resulted in a Zoom boycott around the world. Major global bank Standard Chartered warned its employees against using the app. Companies like Google, Elon Musk's SpaceX, and even schools in New York have banned the use of the Zoom app. Zoombombing is also a major concenr. It is a hacking technique where an uninvited guest joins a video call and hijacks the screens of all participants. The widespread scrutiny forced many users to look for Zoom-alternatives.

(Also read: Meet Now, Jitsi, Houseparty and more: Group video chatting alternatives to Zoom for work and play)


Say Namaste

The app is currently available in beta mode. While the platform will eventually be available for both mobile and laptop, currently the website for the app reads: "We are facing tremendous demand for NAMASTE and hence you may face some temporary connectivity issues. Please check back soon".

The platform allows you to place a video conference call by creating a meeting link and sharing it with the participants, just like Zoom. It will allow group video calls with multiple people simultaneously, however, the number of maximum participants has not been revealed yet.

Namaste's mobile app will reportedly let you switch to the rear camera by tapping on the "toggle" option while you are on call. It will also give the option to not use the camera for calls at all and only do an audio call. Most videos calling apps offer that feature.

As per a report by Republic World, this platform is the brainchild of a Mumbai-based web application and software development company called Inscripts. The app version of Namaste is expected to launch this week for both Android and iOS users.

A word of warning: The app isn't necessarily more secure than Zoom. The app is still in beta, which means that there are still unpatched and undiscovered bugs that are being worked on. The app's security features have also not been tested in the wild yet, and it's only after its safety and privacy features are examined by third-party security experts that the app can be deemed secure enough for most use-cases.

If you have concerns, you can easily choose from a number of other apps and services that enable video conferencing for free, whether for business or private purposes. You can check out our recommendations here.

How to host a meeting on Namaste?

Step 1:Currently, you can use it by visiting the link here and tap on "Create new meeting"

Step 2: Add your name and you will get Meeting URL, Meeting ID and Meeting code

Step 3: Share the Meeting ID, code and URL by simple copy-pasting with other participants so that they can join.

In Namaste, it is not necessary that only the host can invite people to join the meeting, infact, whoever has the meeting details can join it.

Do note, the platform is currently in beta and is prone to various security issues. We would recommend you sign up only once the stable version is rolled out.

Correction: The technology desk incorrectly reported that the Say Namaste app, launched by a Mumbai startup, was backed by the government of India. The Centre has since clarified that it isn’t behind the app. We apologise for the error, and have since amended the article. 

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