Success StoriesAugust 30, 2023

Chingari: Empowering Social Media Creators and Viewers with Astra DB

Henry Isaac
Henry IsaacDataStax
Chingari: Empowering Social Media Creators and Viewers with Astra DB

In the fast-paced, crowded social media universe, innovation is how you stand out. Chingari, one of India's fastest-growing social media apps with over 175 million users, has revolutionized how creators and viewers monetize their content and time. I recently spoke with our latest Digital Champions, Chingari’s Kamal Sain, VP of Engineering, and Shavinder Singh, Head of Engineering. They shared their insights on being a leader, challenges in the social media industry, and how Chingari supports its ambitious vision and handles the scale requirements.

1) Congrats on being named a Digital Champion! What does being a Digital Champion mean to you? 

Being a Digital Champion is a tremendous honor, and we’re very thankful to DataStax for this. It affirms the effort our team has put into building a social application that is changing the lives of social media users. It also serves as a reminder of the responsibility that we’re carrying in order to make this application available for global users. 

2) What challenges in the social media industry are you focused on addressing?

The problems we have observed primarily revolve around monetization. Creators invest significant effort in creating content, but they face challenges in monetizing it. When considering platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok, only the top 0.5% of creators can effectively monetize their content.

Retention and recommendation are other challenges. New applications emerge daily, and figuring out how to retain users is crucial. Determining their preferences based on their initial videos is vital. Implementing machine learning models helps us make videos available to users quickly.

Additionally, there is the issue of capital for creators, particularly those from tier three or tier four cities or remote areas. While these creators possess the talent and the ability to create high-quality content, they often lack the necessary initial capital. 

3) What are the primary obstacles at Chingari you’re encountering in harnessing the power of data?

We have to deal with a significant amount of data. We work on the recommendation engine, aiming to provide users with a personalized content experience. Real-time data processing plays a crucial role in achieving this. We have developed an algorithm identifying users' contributions to the platform's growth.

Calculating these contributions in real time poses a significant challenge because users can engage in various activities such as commenting, video watching, live streaming, and listening. Therefore, we must track all these metrics to measure their contribution accurately. Handling such a vast amount of data in real-time is exceptionally challenging, with millions of activities occurring every second.

We have implemented a robust infrastructure and partnered with top-notch database solutions to address this. Astra DB, in particular, has been instrumental in tackling the challenges associated with real-time data. With Astra DB and the support of our dedicated technical team, we can focus on scaling our application and ensuring its growth. At the same time, Astra DB and DataStax handle the complexities of real-time data management.

4) Why did you choose to work with DataStax and Astra DB?

The speed of execution holds significant importance, doesn't it? We conduct numerous experiments, including small-scale ones, to drive innovation. Setting up our in-house Cassandra cluster would typically require at least a week, sometimes even longer. By leveraging DataStax, we could initiate our operations within five minutes.

This has proven to be highly beneficial. We no longer need to allocate resources to monitor and worry about the database's performance or potential downtime. This newfound freedom allows our developers and SRE team to focus their efforts on other activities without the concerns of database management weighing them down.

5) What are your future plans with Astra DB?

Astra DB will be heavily integrated with Chingari, as we have recently migrated our mining and rewards program entirely to it. We also have a recommendation system for audio and live rooms that will require Vector Search, the new feature provided by Astra that we are currently exploring. 

This integration will be comprehensive throughout Chingari. Overall, performance and latency are crucial for any social media application. In our mining reward program, we have achieved latencies of less than one millisecond, significantly impacting the user experience.

Our partnership with DataStax is set to make a significant impact. We are confident that DataStax’s real-time AI platform will greatly assist us in achieving our goals.

To learn more, watch Chingari’s Digital Champion video.

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