Telegram sends 2.0 messages to social media rivals

Telegram, a fast-growing instant messaging app based in United Arab Emirates, has announced a slew of 2.0 updates in its ongoing battle to win market share from rival social‑media platforms. Facebook's WhatsApp seems mostly in Telegram's crosshairs, but we'll come to that in a minute.

Top billing in Telegram's update was given to group video calls. One thousand people can now watch-in, apparently, while still allowing up to 30 users to broadcast video (as per a previous update).

"We will keep increasing this limit until all humans on Earth can join one group call and watch us yodel in celebration," proclaimed the official announcement. Telegram, somewhat teasingly, said the seemingly limitless attendee facility for video broadcasts was "coming soon."

See hear: Telegram is moving beyond encrypted messaging with expanded video calling options.  (Source: Adem AY on Unsplash)
See hear: Telegram is moving beyond encrypted messaging with expanded video calling options.
(Source: Adem AY on Unsplash)

Other 2.0 highlights include pausing, rewinding and fast-forwarding high-res video messages.

Screen-share with audio is another additional feature, along with the introduction of timestamping links on videos. Different video playback speeds are also supported through the 2.0 upgrade, from as low as 0.2x through to 0.5x, 1.5x and 2.0x.

Telegram aficionados have been used to setting the automatic erasure time for messages at one day or one week, but now, as part of the 2.0 upgrade, they can extend automatic message wipe-out to one month.

Telegram messages

On its website Telegram makes the claim that, "unlike WhatsApp," it is a cloud-based messenger platform with "seamless sync." The upshot, says Telegram, is it can access users' messages from several devices at once, including tablets and computers, and share an “unlimited number” of photos, videos and files of up to 2GB each.

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"Thanks to Telegram's multi-data center infrastructure and encryption," it further argues on its website, the platform is "way more secure" than WhatsApp.

Telegram messages seem to be having some impact on both investors and users. In March, Mubadala's Disruptive Investments platform and Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners announced an investment of $75m each in Telegram.

Telegram, with what it says is 500 million monthly active users, claims it is one of the ten most downloaded apps in the world.

— Ken Wieland, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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