Telegram, the cloud-based instant messenger app, has rolled out a major update comprising of multiple new features and improvements for overall user experience.
These include Voice Chat for Telegram Groups, SD Card storage and new UI animation for Android version of the app, new media editor capabilities along with fast loading & better looking animated stickers. It will also launch a new feature suggestion platform to help identify potential new features and locate bugs, through user inputs and feedback.
As Telegram approaches 500 million active users (globally), its founder, Pavel Durov has unveiled the strategy to drive sustained growth of the app and generate revenue from next year onwards. New features for business teams or power users will be added to the app.
Some of these features will require more resources and will be paid for by these premium users. The company says that regular users will be able to keep enjoying Telegram for free, forever. Telegram will introduce its own Ad Platform for public one-to-many channels that is user-friendly and respects privacy. However, private 1-to-1 chats or group chats will remain ad-free.
This means that those public channels that send posts as ads won’t have to do that anymore as Telegram will introduce its own ad-network. These public channels are those that have thousands of members and are run by individuals or a group of them.
“We are not going to sell the company like the founders of WhatsApp. The world needs Telegram to stay independent as a place where users are respected and high-quality service is ensured,” Durov wrote.
“Telegram will begin to generate revenue, starting next year. We will do it in accordance with our values and the pledges we have made over the last 7 years. Thanks to our current scale, we will be able to do it in a non-intrusive way. Most users will hardly notice any change”, he added.
Talking about the recent update, Telegram introduced a new group chats feature that act as persistent conference calls that run in parallel to existing text chats. Voice Chats add a live layer of ephemeral talk to the group and can be used as informal lounges or virtual office spaces.
With the new voice chat feature, users can go in and out of the open voice channel as and when they please. “While Voice Chats are not group calls, they can achieve similar goals – at the same time offering flexibility instead of old school scheduling. In larger groups, they also provide serendipitous opportunities for talking to people”, Telegram wrote in a blog.
Some other additional new features include Push To Talk shortcuts on Telegram Desktop apps, Sticker outlines, new animation throughout the app, ask Siri on iOS to announce incoming messages, more animated emojis and a better media editor.