Instant Messaging (IM) apps have proliferated over the last few years, eclipsing SMS many times over. Facebook owned WhatsApp has over 900 million users, making it the most popular IM app in the world. Similar apps like Snapchat, Facebook Messenger and Telegram trail WhatsApp, but Telegram is slowly gaining traction among young and tech savvy youth across the globe.
In a recently created WhatsApp group for former high-school mates, the administrators of the group suggested the members move to Telegram. Some quickly agreed, many did not know what Telegram is, while others were excited about the opportunity to exit the group without the awkwardness that comes with leaving a WhatsApp group.
Telegram and WhatsApp are similar in many aspects; signing up using your cell phone number which is your ID, the user interface is almost the same, both are free to download and use, and both work across different platforms.
But they have differences:
The Telegram developers are so confident about its security that they have offered $200,000 for any hacker who breaks their 256-bit symmetric encryptions. Security is the main reason users are drawn to Telegram as it allows users to send end to end encrypted messages with self destruct options. You can also chat with someone without them seeing your number.
Pavel Durov, Telegram Co-founder, said he and his team built a communication that can’t be accessed by the Russian security agencies.
Telegram allows you to send animated GIF images as well as allowing them to loop inline which makes conversations more expressive.
In addition to this, Telegram has a wider range of emojis (small digital image expressing an emotion or idea) than can be found in Whatsapp.
Telegrams also offers stickers that are suggested when you select and emoji corresponding to the emotion it matches to.
For large groups, Telegram may be the best IM as it can accommodate up to 200 members. WhatsApp is limited to 100 users at any given time.
Telegram allows users to send large type of files of any type up to 1.5GB, while WhatsApp limits users to 160 Mb files of specific file types. Users of Telegram have noted the app is faster in sending and receiving files compared to WhatsApp.
Telegram has a robust API which makes it possible for companies and organizations to use bots to enhance communication with customers. For instance, Kenya Power uses the Telegram API to auto interact with customers. Kenya Power clients have access to a variety of information related to their accounts, including the charges due, the last token bought among many other features. You can try this for yourself by finding them in Telegram under @KenyaPowerBot.
WhatsApp added a call functionality on the app. This voice over internet capability makes it cheaper to make international calls. This is the one function Telegram does not have. Overall, WhatsApp might remain popular because of the number of people using the app. All your friends, family and former class mates are there, except when you want to have that secret conversation.