Telegram gets one step closer to video calling with video messages

At first we had audio messages. Then, naturally, followed audio calls.

Yesterday, Telegram started rolling out what it calls video messages. They are not video calls, no. Just like you could with audio messages before, you simply tap and hold and lo and behold, you’ve shared a part of your daily life either with internet strangers in a Telegram group or a friend in a normal chat.

In fact, it works just like audio messages. To send a video message, tap the microphone icon in the chat box. It will switch to a camera icon. Press and hold the camera icon. You’re video broadcasting!

Video messages are already rolling out via an update on the Play Store in version 4.0 of the application.

“Video messages are automatically downloaded and autoplayed by default (you can change this in Settings if you’re on a data diet though) and generally feel and act like voice messages – on visual steroids,” reads a blog post from the Telegram team announcing the new feature.

We are going to have so much fun with this, trust me.

But what about channels?

There’s Telescope.

Telescope is “a dedicated video hosting platform for those who use videos to communicate with their audiences.”

So if you are a channel admin, you can post video messages to your channel subscribers as well. Telegram will host the videos and users can subsequently view them on the channel’s Telescope. For instance, when I finally get over my camera shyness or get drunk (whichever comes first) and decide to make good use of the Galaxy S8’s stunning camera, there might be a few rants on telesco.pe/androidkenya. What makes Telescope stand out

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What makes Telescope stand out from any similar product introduced by rivals is that the feature guarantees an audience even by those who are yet to embrace Telegram – and there are very many of them – so you can still reach out to them from their WhatsApp cocoons. Facebook, Twitter, wherever your desired audience is. Telegram just plays host.

Video messages and the hosted Telescope videos are capped at a duration of 1 minute, at least as far as I know now. Else, Telegram servers could easily be overwhelmed by all the videos that are on their way.

That’s not the end of the magic of the 4.0 update that Telegram is rolling out via the Play Store.

  • Just as Google Assistant can now process payments instantly and without much fuss, Telegram bots will also be able to handle payments instantly, in instances where pay buttons have been incorporated. On clicking Pay, a user is prompted to enter their card details and then checkout.
  • Instant View, think of it as Telegram’s Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) or Facebook Instant Articles, is also live for every developer and publisher to tinker with and implement on their sites. “Instant View allows Telegram users to view articles from around the Web in a consistent way, with zero loading time. When you get a link to an article via Telegram, simply tap the Instant View button, and the page will open instantly. With Instant View, Telegram users can enjoy articles from any mass media or blogs in a uniform and easily readable way. Instant View pages support text and media of any type and work great even if the original website was not optimized for mobile devices.”
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Emmanuel Chenze

Let's just say I know my stuff. I have 7 years experience handling, tinkering with and then writing extensively about Android stuff. Sometimes it is exciting, sometimes it is not; things can get stale with nothing new to show but I live for each one of those moments. Have something Android-related that you believe I need to have a look at? Hit me up: echenze@androidkenya.com