Telegram adds group video calling at last

Technology

Messaging chat app Telegram has added group video chat to its mobile and desktop apps at last, something it promised was coming back in April 2020. Voice chats in any group on the platform can be turned into video calls by tapping the camera icon to turn on your device’s video.

Telegram says an unlimited number of users can participate in an audio call, but group video calls will be limited to the first 30 people who join a voice chat. The company plans to increase that limit “soon,” it said in its announcement. Users can also share their screens during a video call.

Telegram CEO Pavel Durov said in January that the company had reached 500 million active users, many of whom came to the platform after the Facebook-owned rival chat platform WhatsApp bungled the introduction of a new privacy policy. Still, Telegram’s introduction of group video calls lags the competition; WhatsApp, which had 2 billion users as of February, added group video and voice calling in 2018.

Along with the long-awaited group video calls, Telegram added several other new features, including improved noise suppression, and animated backgrounds. Users on Telegram’s iOS or Android apps can choose from several default options or create their own animated backgrounds.