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Telegram’s group video calls will finally launch in May

Telegram’s group video calls will finally launch in May


The company was originally targeting a 2020 launch

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Telegram CEO Pavel Durov announced today that the iOS version of Telegram will be updated to support group video calls in May (via Yahoo Finance). The company originally planned to add the video call feature to its messaging service at some point in 2020, but the feature never materialized. Telegram did at least make it into the new year with one video call addition: end-to-end encrypted one-on-one video calls were added in August 2020.

Durov’s announcement of the new launch date was shared — naturally — in his personal Telegram channel. He writes that group video calls will have:

Screen sharing, encryption, noise-cancelling, desktop and tablet support — everything you can expect from a modern video conferencing tool, but with Telegram-level UI, speed and encryption.

Telegram already offers end-to-end encryption on its one-on-one video calling, but the company hasn’t explicitly confirmed the feature here. We’ve reached out to confirm that it plans to offer the same on group video calls when they launch in May.

Telegram has grown significantly over the pandemic, taking advantage of the shift to working from home and the general desire to stay connected securely. The company announced it reached 400 million monthly active users in April 2020, up from 200 million in 2018. Some of that has to do with its competitor, WhatsApp, fumbling how it communicated its new privacy policy to customers, which inspired some users to leave the Facebook-owned app for Telegram and Signal.

Despite seeming a bit less nimble, WhatsApp actually beat Telegram to offering end-to-end encrypted group video calls. The company added group video and voice calling in 2018.