Published: 22nd July 2020
Meet the guys whose Chrome extension can tell you where a product was made so you can go #VocalForLocal
Shopping online and want to know in which country these products are manufactured? Then, check out this cool plugin, sochswadeshi.in, created by three youngsters from Karnataka
When PM Narendra Modi addressed the nation on May 12 appealing for all to help build an Atmanirbhar Bharat and go #VocalforLocal, people went all out on social media - some praising the idea and some criticising it. But three youngsters got together to do something productive with this information. Together, Mohammed Suhail Chinya Salimpasha, Swastik Padma and Pranav Shikarpur from Karnataka developed a Google Chrome plugin called sochswadeshi.in. that could help an online shopper identify where a particular product was manufactured. Suhail explains how this plugin actually works, "Once you open Google Chrome, type sochswadeshi.in in the address field, it will take you to the website from where you can proceed to install it on your desktop. Once installed, you can visit sites like Amazon.in or any other online purchasing portal, search for a product that you want to buy and the plugin will directly show you where the product is manufactured. This lets you, the buyer, know whether it is an Indian product or not, basically."
Before we told others about it, we had to try it out for ourselves. So, we installed the plugin on our computer and searched for the Samsung Galaxy M31 on Amazon.in. The plugin showed that the product is manufactured in South Korea and assembled in India. Now that's pretty cool! While this plugin was officially launched only a few days ago, the response they have received from users is already overwhelming. Suhail says, "Nearly 300 people are using this plugin as of now and over ten thousand products have been processed. This plugin gives you the information that you need and helps you make better purchases. As a result, it helps you add value to our economy and campaign for an Atmanirbhar Bharat. We have enabled a Twitter share button on our plugin so that you can tweet about the proud purchase you have made." While customers buying from Amazon.in can experience this plugin, the team is in the process of providing the same option for other online portals. Suhail says, "We don't want to annoy the users with a lot of advertisements and would not like to rush with our work. Hence, we are taking it slow, Soon, even Flipkart customers will be able to experience this plugin while making their purchases."
What makes this plugin even more unique is how the trio went about creating it. With Suhail working from his hometown of Srirangapatna, Swastik from Puttur and Pranav from Washington, USA, these young innovators have been coordinating with each other completely online to develop the plugin. At the same time, a large number of volunteers helped the trio in identifying the products and in data accumulation. Suhail says, "While I looked at the functions and features of the website from morning till evening, Swastik took over the evening till midnight shift and Pranav, the midnight to morning shift as the timezone in the US varies from India," explains Suhail, "We came across a number of challenges, including identifying the country of origin for each and every product available on these e-commerce sites. The Government of India makes it mandatory for these sites to display this information but they hide it for various reasons. For instance, if you check out the iPhone 11, it shows India and China while the actual manufacturer is the USA."
When we ask if the same plugin will be launched for mobile users, Suhail says, "The mobile version of the sochswadeshi.in plugin will take time as it is tricky, but it can gain us a lot of users. Once the desktop version gets more users, we will work on the mobile app."