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Telegram Messaging App to Add Group Video Calls Later This Year

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To help its users stay in touch during the coronavirus pandemic and after, Telegram will add group video calls this year to its popular messaging app, the company said Friday. Telegram also noted that its app — available on Android, iOS, Windows and Mac, as well as through a web browser — now has 400 million monthly users, up from 300 million from a year ago.

“What’s next, you might ask? The current global lockdown highlighted the need for a trusted video communication tool. Video calls in 2020 are much like messaging in 2013. There are apps that are either secure or usable, but not both. We’d like to fix that, and we will focus on bringing you secure group video calls in 2020.”

While Telegram did not reveal many details about the feature, it appears to be taking a dig at other video calling services facing privacy issues and security scandals. In response, Zoom has promised to improve security features and upgrades. However, that won’t stop competition from taking advantage of its blunders.

Right now Telegram lets you send messages and place voice calls, and it has a secret chats option that uses end-to-end encryption. This year already Telegram added a quiz mode to its polls and expanded its educational tools. Telegram also now includes a new sticker directory to help you more easily find stickers.

Default messages and media in Telegram are encrypted when stored on its servers, but can be accessed by the Telegram service provider, who holds the encryption keys. In addition Telegram provides optional end-to-end encrypted “secret” chats between two online users, yet not for groups or channels.

Telegram does have a solid track record. It’s one of our most trusted messaging apps. It lets users retroactively delete messages, and during the Hong Kong protests it added a feature to better protect users’ identities.

Telegram has always operated with a degree of disregard for the opinions of government authorities and various corporates — that has resulted in some interesting use cases. Telegram, which is banned in China, counts the world’s most populous nation as one of its biggest markets.

People in the nation use virtual private networks (VPN) to download and run Telegram. Amid heavy censorship in China, Telegram became a refuge for WeChat users looking for authoritative information about the coronavirus early this year.

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