Instant messaging app Plustxt has updated its Android app to add a nifty feature of allowing users to post to Facebook, Twitter and Google+ in various Indic languages supported by the app. Plustxt is currently available as free download on the Google Play Store.
How this integration works is that, one can login to the app through Facebook Connect or the recently updated Google+ Sign-In and tap on the Facebook, Twitter or the Google+ icon at the top of the app homescreen to post updates to the respective social networks. For instance, one can tap on the Facebook icon, to open a new conversion window similar to the conversation windows one sees while sending a message on Plustxt.
One can then choose the transliteration button above the text input box to choose their preferred Indic language among the list of supported languages. Plustxt currently supports eight Indic languages including Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Punjabi, Gujarati and Malayalam besides English.
Rather than providing an in-app indic keyboard, the app follows a transliteration approach, wherein it offers indic word predictions in a horizontally scrolling bar, based on the word the user has typed. One can then type in their message, send it and grant requisite permissions to their account, following which the message is posted to the respective social network. We tried it on a Nexus 4 and found that it worked as promised. This implementation reminds us of the chat bot implementation one sees in Google Talk (now Google Hangout) or any other chat client.
Why Is This Important? This feature could come in handy for users who want to post messages to these social networks in their native languages. It could also possibly give Plustxt an advantage over other messaging apps like WhatsApp and WeChat among others. While Imsy offers Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn integration, it doesn’t support Indic language input yet.
Also note that Facebook, Twitter or Google+ doesn’t offer native Indic language input support yet, although one could use third party keyboards like Swiftkey, Swype and Adaptxt on Android which have added support for Indic languages over the last year.
Regional VAS Services: This development also indicates the direction Plustxt is taking in a bid to differentiate itself from other apps. Last month, Plustxt founder Pratyush Prasanna had told Medianama that they intend to monetize the service by licensing Plustxt APIs to others and providing value added services (VAS) in Indian languages. This is particularly interesting because its quite difficult for a content provider to exactly target a specific language audience in the country. Prasanna had claimed that they have already inked partnerships with a Marathi and a Bengali newspaper for this purpose, although he hadn’t disclosed any specific details on it. The company claimed to have 60,000 users as of April 2013.
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