Reintroducing Telegram: privately funded private chat with open source apps

I started to write an article about the latest update for Telegram, when I realized I might only be speaking to a select few in-the-know users. Far fewer than I think should be interested, anyway. Telegram is a private chat system with end-to-end encryption support and cross-platform functionality. It's privately funded by a guy named Pavel Durov, whose only goal seems to be "fast and secure messaging that is also 100% free."

What is Telegram?

Telegram is a chat app – private, cross-platform, feature-full, and entirely free. Telegram is funded by Pavel Durov, and has been funded "for the time being." They've suggested that if Telegram ever "runs out" (of money), they'll introduce non-essential paid options to "support the infrastructure and finance developer salaries." They've maintained that "making profits will never be an end-goal for Telegram."

Most of the developers working on Telegram came from St. Petersburg, Russia, but their entire operation moved to Dubai when Russia decided they didn't like encrypted, private chat operating in their country. Telegram also fell into a short but heated mess with Apple not long after the Russian ban.

Have I used Telegram?

I use Telegram to communicate with a few family members, and that's it. I no longer trust Facebook Messenger as I once did – those were crazy, heady times – I was so very naive. I used WhatsApp for a while, but that went South in the second half of 2019.

I found Telegram and never went back. Or I've not yet gone back, or forward to a different app for chat. I currently have no reason to believe that Telegram isn't the best option for the little communication I do in which privacy is necessary.

Latest Updates

In addition to working with developers of all sorts with open source tools and access for app development, Telegram works with IFTTT for the automation of all sorts of things. In January of 2020, Telegram updated a Polls system to a full version 2.0, complete with Visible Votes, Multiple Answers, and Quiz Mode.

Here in February of 2020, Telegram released an update to their mobile private message system with upgrades for profiles, new ways to "thumb" through user media, and quick access to shared media. This latest update also brings a newly redesigned People Nearby section with "fresh ways to forge new friendships." This latest update is live for Android and iOS users now.

If you'd like to take a look at Telegram, head over to Telegram dot org and drop in on one of their multiple apps. Alternatives to Telegram can be found in our feature How secure is your messenger app: Things you should know.