Telegram to add group video calls next month
Telegram is ready to add group video calling service to its messaging platform. Founder and CEO Pavel Durov announced that his instant messenger app will gain video conferencing capabilities starting next month. Durov made the announcement on his personal Telegram channel earlier this week.
“We will add a video dimension to our voice chats in May, making Telegram a powerful platform for group video calls,” he wrote. His post suggests that the new video tools will be built in addition to the group voice chats feature added last year. It will be a full implementation, however. The app will offer everything from screen sharing and encryption to noise cancellation and support for desktops and tablets.
Telegram’s group video calling service will include “everything you can expect from a modern video conferencing tool,” Durov said. “But with Telegram-level user interface, speed and encryption.”
Durov even shared a teaser on how group video calls look on Telegram mobile apps. Find out below.
Telegram finally arrives in the group video calling scene
Video conferencing platforms such as Zoom and Google Meet gained tremendous popularity during the still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which began early last year. Telegram also announced in april last year he was working on a “secure” group video calling service. The company said, “Video calling in 2020 is a lot like messaging in 2013”. However, the platforms currently available are “either secure or usable, but not both”. He promised to offer both.
It was a dig at Zoom that had been hit by multiple privacy and security issues in early 2020. The service also lacked end-to-end encryption (e2ee) at that time. Telegram, meanwhile, has traditionally focused on security. The one-on-one video calls that Telegram launched last August arrived with e2ee.
Durov’s recent announcement also repeatedly uses the term “encryption,” reiterating the company’s security policy. While the post doesn’t specifically mention e2ee, it should be safe to assume that Telegram group video calls will also be end-to-end encrypted.
However, it’s not clear whether the company will use the same MTProto encryption it uses for one-on-one video calls. This is a custom-designed encryption protocol that many crypto experts are not sure about. In addition, Zoom now offers e2ee as well. Telegram therefore has its task of trying to move users to its videoconferencing platform.
Nonetheless, May is almost here, so it shouldn’t take long for Telegram to launch its Zoom alternative. Durov said group video calls and individual video calls would be available on his web applications as well as.
“To make them (web apps) 100% full in functionality, we are currently testing a working version of web-based video calls internally, which will be added soon,” he wrote.