Over a fortnight since it started testing voice calling capabilities, Telegram is finally releasing the feature to the public.
Version 3.18 of the Telegram Messenger Android application which just hit the Play Store today brings voice calling to Android users officially as well as adding another much-desired feature: choosing the degree of compression/quality of a video before sharing it.
By doing this, Telegram becomes the latest messaging application to incorporate voice calls after Messenger, WhatsApp and, lately, Signal.
However, unlike the other messaging apps, Telegram is aiming to give users total control over the feature. For instance, users can decide who gets to call them and who does not. Those not interested can just turn off the feature as well.
Telegram is touting features like Artificial Intelligence as some of those that help set it apart. By learning from a user’s device, the app is able to optimise voice calls thereby improving the quality.
Another aspect that Telegram is touting as part of its app’s voice calling feature set is the speed. Telegram voice calls use a peer-to-peer connection and where that is not available, a content delivery network is used. The latter is what Telegram has been using to deliver texts around the world faster than its peers.
Like voice calls made via WhatsApp, Telegram voice calls are encrypted end-to-end. “To make sure your call is 100% secure, you and your recipient just need to compare four emoji over the phone,” reads part of a statement from Telegram announcing the release of the new feature.
Also, as is the case with voice calls on WhatsApp, users will be able to enable an option to use less data in the settings section of the app. However, Telegram warns, this will be at a cost: reduced voice quality.
For now, at least on an official basis, voice calling on Telegram is limited to users in western Europe and will be rolling out to other regions in coming days.
“As soon as Voice Calls are enabled for your country, a phone icon will appear on every profile page. On Android, you can also call from the ‘…’ menu in a chat.”