WhatsApp has taken off all over the world as the conventional messaging application. It is in fact hard to remember how the world of communication was like before WhatsApp was invented. According to this article, Facebook announced that as of February 2020, WhatsApp had 1.6 billion active users, making it the number one messaging application worldwide. It is closely followed by Facebook's own messenger, which has 1.3 billion active users.
WhatsApp's popularity however should not be mistaken for greatness. There are way better and more feature-rich messaging applications. One of my personal favorites is Telegram and in this post, I'll tell you why I consider it to be the king of instant messaging.
Telegram is cloud-based and offers unlimited storage
One of the nightmares of using WhatsApp is loss of data (messages & media) whenever you change phone or have to reinstall it for some other reasons. Your phone malfunctioning and have to reset it? Your phone gets stolen? WhatsApp malfunctioning and have to reinstall it? In all those cases, chances are you will lose all your WhatsApp data. The only thing you retrieve after a clean installation of WhatsApp is a list of the groups you're part of. Needless to say they also come empty! And yes, I know about the option to back up WhatsApp data on Google Drive but we all know that option is headache-inducing. There have been times when I knew I had a Google Drive backup but had to pass it up on my next install due to how long that process takes.
When using Telegram, you get the joy of knowing your messages reside in the cloud without you having to even think about it. Your phone malfunctioning and have to reset it? Your phone gets stolen? Need to reinstall Telegram for any other reason? All you have to do is sign in with the same phone number as before and voila, all your conversations, messages, photos, videos, etc are all waiting for you to pick up where you left off.
Telegram allows you to share up to 1.5GB file size
WhatsApp will only allow you to share up to 16MB file size. I can't count how many times I had to trim a video I wanted to send to someone but the overlords at WhatsApp could not allow me to go beyond 16MB, or had to spend hours figuring out how I can compress and reduce its quality so that it fits that size.
On Telegram, you can share a file of up to 1.5GB in size. That pretty much means there is no limit to what an average user can share. 1.5GB would cover even a full movie 🙂
Animated Stickers and Emojis
Even after being late to the party in the stickers department, WhatsApp hasn't yet figured out how to do it right. Stickers on WhatsApp look pretty ugly and most users even make them themselves. On Telegram however, there's a huge community of designers who always deliver the best looking and fun stickers, both static and animated. You wouldn't understand how huge of a difference stickers make in conversations until you give it a try. I used to be one of those people who think the whole stickers brouhaha is for Snapchat and Tik-Tok users. Telegram made me a believer!
You Can Use Telegram on Multiple Devices Independently
You know how you have to be in proximity of your phone to be able to use the WhatsApp Desktop or WhatsApp Web clients? On Telegram, your account is automatically synced to as many devices as you want and you can use them independently. That means that, even if you lost your phone or left it at home, you can still use Telegram on your laptop or tablet independently. You can even answer Telegram calls on those devices without having to pick up the phone.
You don't have to give anyone your phone number in order for them to message you on Telegram. Each Telegram user has the option to set a username and after that, he/she can just share that username to anyone without having to reveal the phone number associated with that account.
Telegram Groups and Channels
A Telegram group can host up to 1000 members whereas WhatsApp only allows up to 256 group members. Telegram also has channels, which are different from groups in that the creator of the channel has the sore ability to post to that channel and decide who else can post. Channels are mostly used by people who want to deliver content to subscribers without necessarily having to interact with them.
Other Nifty Telegram Features
To avoid this post being thousands of lines long, I will stop explaining every feature and just list my remaining favorites below:
- Scheduling messages
- Sending messages without sound
- Telegram Bots
- Polling in groups
- Ability to edit messages after they're sent.
- Ability to use telegram with more than one phone number
- New group members can see old messages if the admin chooses to allow them
- Ability to delete messages for all. Here WhatsApp only allows 7 minutes, after which you can't delete a message from the recipient's end.
- Secret chats. Messages self-destruct after a set time.
I wouldn't be surprised if I forgot some other features that are important. The point here is, if you are looking for a reliable and feature-rich instant messaging application, Telegram is THE option to consider.
The only drawback to using Telegram would be a relatively low user base but that is also changing rapidly. In fact, Telegram hit a 400 million active users milestone in April this year and is growing at a rapid pace. As of now, most of my contacts have joined and I find myself exclusively using it for my conversations.
Have you tried Telegram yet? If so, which of its features is your favorite? Did I miss any? Feel free to leave a comment below