Telegram has announced two new updates to their platform — the first is a new app update that adds a feature called voice chat room, and the second is an upcoming change to the platform where Telegram will begin showing ads in public one-to-many group chats as a way to generate revenue and sustain their free messaging service.
Telegram is nearing 500 million active users, which is a phenomenal amount of users for a service that is completely free for its users. The developers of Telegram are now predicting that this number will soon touch 1 billion and keeping the service completely free in its current form will be extremely difficult.
So Telegram has announced that they will build and begin to use their own Ad platform, to be featured in their Telegram channels and groups. They promise to do it in a non-intrusive way that will continue to respect user privacy and be user-friendly.
The developers will also look into introducing some premium features for business teams and their power users, as these features will require more resources. For regular users however, Telegram also promised to keep all the features that currently free, free forever.
In the new app update v7.3.0, any Telegram group can have a voice chat room in addition to the text and media messages. This feature works similarly to the voice channels feature in Discord, which is a popular desktop focused messaging service.
These voice chat rooms are great for adding an extra layer of live communication in groups, especially for virtual office spaces or informal lounges for communities.
Once a voice chat has been initiated, it will show on the top of the chat and anyone in the group can join. Telegram has added a few animations to show who is talking at the moment and Android users can stay joined in the voice chat via a system-wide floating widget, even if they close the app.
For Windows Desktop and MacOS users, Telegram has added the ability to assign a button for push-to-talk, so that users have finer control over their microphone.
Other features include faster sticker loading times with sticker outlines, the ability to move the Telegram app on to an SD card on Android, new editing options for Android and iOS, and a lot of new animated emoji.