Telegram Finally Has Video Calls Now; Group Video Calls Coming Soon

If you don’t have Telegram in your phone, you probably still use SMS to communicate with your friends, and you should be one who’s giving ang baos instead of receiving them during Chinese New Year.

Almost everyone under 25 in Singapore is using Telegram; in fact, there are some people in the office who use it primarily to communicate with their friends, because according to them, “WhatsApp is for dinosaurs.”

But there’s just one thing lacking in Telegram: video calls.

WhatsApp might be rather late to the game, with it introducing the feature in 2016, but Telegram hasn’t had that feature since inception.

Today, seven years after the word “telegram” turned from a piece of paper to an app, video calls are finally available.

Image: gfycat

Telegram Finally Has Video Calls Now; Group Video Calls Coming Soon

If you’ve the latest Telegram installed, and your friend has it too, you’d notice a new button, “Video Call”, when you tap on the three dots on the top right corner of a chat.

This is an “alpha version” of the feature, which means it might be unstable and there might be bugs. We’ve our own app (download the Goody Feed app here!), and we didn’t even release the alpha version of any update to employees, but just to the development team because it’d be full of bugs.

But the last I tested the Telegram video chat, it works perfectly, though you’d need to make sure that the other party has the latest Telegram version.

In fact, on my test, it seems more stable than WhatsApp, though that could’ve been due to my connection.

Telegram is obsessed with security, and other than using some technical backend encryption that even your IT guy didn’t understand, you can confirm that your connection is encrypted and secure by checking the four emojis on the top of the video call.

Image: Telegram

If the emojis match, the video call is secure and no one, not even NSA or CIA, can intercept. I think so lah.

A check on the desktop version shows that the feature isn’t available there yet.

For the mobile version, it works almost the same way as WhatsApp video call, so there’s not much to add. But it’s interesting to go through your contacts to see who’s having the latest version, because if you’ve updated your app but didn’t see “Video Call” button on a friend, he or she most probably hasn’t updated the app yet.

Telegram said in a blog post that group video calls will be coming in the next few months. Pretty sure people working in a company that starts with the letter Z is trembling now.

This latest features comes in conjunction with Telegram’s seventh birthday, as the app went live on 14 August 2013. And lest you’re wondering why it’s available on 14 August but I mentioned that it’s available today, which is 15 August, it’s because we Singapore are kiasu so we’ve always one day ahead of people with yellow hair.

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Other than having video calls, Telegram also introduced animated emojis on their birthday.

To read more about Telegram and why it’s grown so fastly in Singapore, check out this article.

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