Telegram is introducing a suite of new features that aim to give it parity with its competitor, WhatsApp. In what is one of the biggest updates to the chat platform, Telegram has introduced Group Video Calls, Screen Sharing, Noise Suppressions during voice chats, Animated Backgrounds and a dedicated Bot Menu among others.
Group Video Calls
Group voice chats can now seamlessly be turned into a group video call session by simply tapping on the camera icon and turning on video. You can also make any video in a grid full screen by simply tapping on it. If you want to focus on a single person in the chat, you can pin their video by tapping on the icon on the top right and they will stay in focus regardless of who joins the chat.
Telegram says that while audio-only voice chat supports an unlimited number of people, video will be limited to the first thirty people that join the chat. The company expects this number to go up in the future.
Screen Sharing during group video calls
Participants in a group video call can also share their screen with others and this can be done while sharing your video feed at the same time.
Noise suppression during voice chats
Telegram has improved noise suppression during voice chats and reduces background noise to help keep the audio clear when someone is talking. This can be toggled on and off in chat settings.
Tablet and Desktop enhancements
Group video calls can be arranged in a split-screen view with a video grid on one side and a participant list on the other. This has been optimised for both landscape and portrait orientations.
On desktop, voice chats can be opened in a separate window which allows you to keep typing away without minimising anything. The desktop app also supports 'Selective Screen Sharing' which allows you to broadcast an individual program instead of the whole screen.
Text chats now have the option to enable Animated Background. Telegram says that these multi-colour wallpapers are generated algorithmically, moving and changing colours subtly as you type. You can also create your own animated backgrounds and the app allows you to pick between three or four colours and an optional pattern.
Telegram has also added new animated emojis and users simply need to send a message with an emoji in it to have it animated.
Dedicated Bot Menu
Telegram has made it easier to have conversations with bots by creating a special menu that lets users browse and quickly send commands. Developer's have the option to change the default commands to make it easier for users to chat with their business accounts. They can also create commands that change based on a user's language settings and chat type.