Ah well .. forget the rest of the article..
So, about a week ago I blathered on about how great Telegram is. After talking-the-talk, now I need to walk it out. I made a vow to myself to use either SMS or Telegram as my main chat applications, and using Whatsapp only if I really need to.
Depending on where you live, who your friends are and what you do, will determine how many of your contacts will have Telegram. My own experience is that since last week a few new people have decided to try out Telegram and a couple of have said they will “spread the word” to their family. Although I have a little less than 20 contacts using Telegram, on their blog Telegram report they deliver 10 Billion messages a day.
Here are few thoughts off the top of my head …
- The desktop versions: Because Telegram is cloud based, continuing a conversation is seamless. Shared media is previewed nicely in the chat window and clicking on an image gives a full-screen image, with subtle menus. Attached music files even open up in the chat client.
- Eye-candy: To be honest as much I get worked up about the speed, privacy and security side to Telegram, the backgrounds for the chats are beautiful.
- Sticker packs: I made my own. 🙂 Just a test one, but it was easy. (https://telegram.me/addstickers/aksun_stickers). The “Cool cat” sticker is bound to the “8-)” emoji.
- In use: On the desktop client, moving between the contact list and chat is smooth. Although the interface is fairly minimalist, getting to your settings or seeing information about a contact feel intuitive.
- Mentions / Hashtags: Very cool. I only found these after reading the FAQ section, but you can use #hashtags and @mentions (like in Twitter, for example) to highlight key parts of your discussion or to give a heads-up to someone that you are talking about them in a group chat.
- File sharing: Combining the groups functionality and the ability to upload documents of up to 1.5GB in size is pretty cool. One possible usage case which came mind was that a band could share recordings of rehearsals, review then and then discuss them easily, all within Telegram. An mp3 file could be uploaded from the PC with the recording software, listened to by band members on their phones/tablets etc. and then comments shared before the next rehearsal.
- Channels: Think of news feeds in a chat client. This is what really sets it apart. You can create a news feed for your organisation/project/family whatever and the members will get your updates. The first thing you should really do is subscribe to the “Telegram News” channel. Search for it from within the app. You can create your own channel simply by pressing the (+) button and choosing “Channel”.
- Transparency: By subscribing to the “Telegram News” channel, I get updates direct from the Telegram team. These have personal feel to them and none of the corporate B.S. and spin you might see elsewhere. The updates are generally about software updates or advance warnings of an upcoming maintenance. More importantly though the channel reported the steps they take to prevent terrorist groups from abusing the service. I’ve not seen this with any other service, and I like it.
So all in all, I’m liking Telegram. I’ve a feeling the sync is a little buggy, but I’ve seen this also in Whatsapp and Skype. The only really clear bug, in the Windows Phone app at least, is that sometime the Online / Last seen information isn’t updated. For a modern messaging application which combines the sharing of simply huge media files of any sort and a slew of features not found anywhere else, Telegram is going to be on my phone / PC for a long time to come.