Telegram now allows users to conduct one-on-one video calls on both Android and iOS platforms. The company announced the feature on its seventh anniversary on August 14, saying that this year had highlighted the need for face-to-face communication. Available in its alpha version, the video calls are protected with end-to-end encryption that users can confirm by checking if emojis shown on their partner’s screen and their own are matching. Telegram also confirmed that it would be launching group video calls in the coming months.
Telegram said in a blog post that the video calls would support picture-in-picture mode, that means users can scroll through chats on Telegram and multitask while on call. They can also switch off the video and switch to normal call whenever they wish.
App users can start a video call by clicking on the call button on the contact’s profile page. To confirm end-to-end encryption, users can check if the four emojis visible on-screen for them and their chat partner’s match. If yes, the call is fully secured, according to Telegram.
Telegram also unveiled a batch of animated versions of commonly used emojis for all users to mark its seven-year anniversary. A larger animated version of the emoji will appear when used in a chat.
In its blog post, Telegram said that although it had begun as a small app focused on secure messaging in 2013, it had now grown into a platform that has over 400 million users, and is now one of the top 10 most-downloaded apps. Introducing the video call feature puts Telegram a step closer to its competitors like WhatsApp and Viber, and the upcoming group video call feature will enhance the same.
The company said that their Android and iOS apps have reproducible builds. Anyone could verify encryption and confirm that Telegram uses the same open source code that is published with each update. Besides group video calls that are expected to be rolled out soon, Telegram also said that there would be more features and improvements in future versions of the app.
Telegram had earlier indicated in April that it would be introducing secure video call features for the app soon, and had started rolling out the feature in beta mode a few days ago, as per reports.