I don’t know if you have heard of Telegram. Okay if you are really really old, (no offense) don’t think about it; it’s not Telegraph. Telegram is an instant messaging service that cropped up just about three years ago. So it is not surprising that Telegram is not so popular. I have been meaning to write about this for a while and I actually don’t know why I haven’t been able to get across it. If you have never heard of Telegram until this post but you know about WhatsApp and probably use it, allow me to say bienvenue. That’s welcome in French.
Now if you are a Telegram user, one of the things you will first notice is the striking similarity in Telegram’s and WhatsApp features; the default cartoon wallpaper, the double green check-mark, the online visibility settings, registration process, group creations, and even up to the way the interface looks like. You could almost say it’s a copy of what WhatsApp is. But don’t make the mistake. I’ll highlight a couple of things Telegram has which makes it hotter and better than WhatsApp.
One of the major things that pissed me off when I started using WhatsApp was the inability to share other files asides photos, audio and video files. Even when a newer update came around in the first quarter of 2016, the only inclusion is the ability to share documents. But for Telegram, it’s almost as saying it’s limitless. You can share videos, photos, mp3 files and even compressed .zip files up to 1.5GB each!
It’s All in the Cloud
The sell-out of Telegram for me is that it is cloud-based. All of your chats are all in the cloud. What does that mean? It means when I switch devices, all my chat history, photos, videos and other files I share or are shared with me can be accessed on that new device. If I so wish, I can decide not to store anything on my phone or memory card. Everything is stored in the cloud. According to Telegram, you can use your account on different devices at the same time, without having to log out one for another. Everything syncs seamlessly!
Secure than Fort-Knox
One issue that WhatsApp battled with over the years was security, until recently when they upgraded their crypto-whatever services. With Telegram, you have nothing to worry about hackers or anyone getting to “listen in” on your messages. Telegram has a chat feature called secret chat. With secret chat, you get client-to-client encryption. What this implies is that messages sent within a secret chat can be accessed only on the device upon which the secret chat was initiated and the device upon which the secret chat was accepted; they cannot be accessed on other devices. They even put up a crypto-contest asking any one who can decipher Telegram’s messages to prove it and win $300,000.
Across all Platforms
Telegram is available on many platforms. It is available on mobile devices; be it Android, iOS, Windows Phone and Ubuntu Touch and on desktop systems i.e. Windows, OS X and Linux. This is possible as the creators made the client-side code of the app open source. It means you can get Telegram on Google PlayStore if your device runs Android 2.2 and above, or on the iTunes AppStore for iOS devices version 6 and above and also on the Windows Phone MarketPlace. Another good thing is you can use Telegram’s web version.
It’s Free and Ad-free
Even though we have consistently gotten this assurance from WhatsApp that it will forever remain free, Telegram is also not left out. Telegram is a free app that will remain free and is avaible across all platforms, well except for Java-based and Symbian devices though. Asides that, the app is ad-free unlike BBM and some other messaging apps. When asked how they intend to make their money, they stated on their website that they set up Telegram without having to bother themselves about the commercial trouble of profit-making as they have quite enough funds for the time being. And if they run out of money, they’ll ask for donations instead.
Other Interesting Telegram Features
While there are many features of Telegram which makes it a super messaging app for me, let me put together a small list of other interesting features that’ll almost make you forget WhatsApp.
- You can set up a public username on Telegram. This makes it possible for other users to find you by that username and send you messages even if they don’t know your number.
- You can create groups for up to 5000 people or create channels for broadcasting to unlimited audiences.
- This one came with the newest version as you can now edit your messages everywhere within two days after posting. You can also choose to delete your messages and once you delete, it deletes everywhere. Isn’t that cool?
- You can mention people in groups by typing @ and selecting them from the list — even if they don’t have a username.
- As a channel owner, you can send silent messages that will not notify members. This is useful for non-urgent or late night posting.
While it may take a while for many to switch over to Telegram, over five million people are already using the app worldwide. As a matter of fact, Telegram is the top free app in about 45 countries including Germany, United States and as far as Ecuador. While Telegram may be the not-so-popular app yet, it is gaining grounds and will likely overtake WhatsApp, Line or Kik very soon.