Telegram with new web versions, payments improvements and scheduled voice chats and
Telegram is a popular messaging solution that is used by millions of users worldwide. The developers of Telegram published an update that brings massive improvements to users, group administrators, and also merchants on the platform.
Android users who use Telegram may download the latest version from the official website to get updates faster, including this new update. The Google Play Store version will update eventually as well. The direct download version supports automatic updates and will install "new versions several days or weeks faster" than the Google Play Store version.
If you use Telegram's web version, you now have access to two new web versions with updated functionality. Both support new features of Telegram's mobile apps, such as dark mode, animated stickers or chat folders, that they did not support before.
Telegram calls the two new web interfaces Web K and Web Z. Telegram is tight lipped when it comes to the differences between the two versions; a quick test showed only visual differences between the two versions.
Login requires a verification code that is sent to the Telegram application on a mobile device.
Payments improved significantly
Telegram introduced support for payments in 2017 on the platform. Users of the chat app could communicate with payment bots to make payments from within the application.
Today's update introduces support for eight third-party payment providers, including Stripe, that merchants can make use of to handle payments on the Telegram platform.
Telegram notes that it does not take commissions and does not store payment information on its platform.
Information such as credit cards data is sent to the payment provider directly and shipping information is shared with the merchant.
All merchants can start using the Payments API directly. A Payments help page is available for developers that provides instructions on setting this up.
Voice Chat Improvements
Administrators of groups and channels may schedule voice chats in the latest version instead of having to create one on the fly. The main advantage of that is that members of the chat or channel get advance notice of new voice chats.
Chats displays a countdown at the top when a voice chat is scheduled, and users may enable notifications to receive a ping when the chat is about to start.
Admins can schedule a Voice Chat from their Group or Channel's profile page. On Android, tap ⋮ > Start Voice chat > Schedule Voice Chat. On iOS, tap the Voice Chat button and select Schedule Voice Chat.
Don't worry, the chat won't start automatically when the countdown reaches zero – only when an admin presses the Start Now button.
Another new voice chat related feature is the option to display mini profiles; these expand profile pictures and biographies, without leaving voice chat.
Last but not least, administrators may record voice chats to publish them for followers who missed the event or want to replay it.
Other improvements of the new version
Photos and videos can be expanded from chat right away now using pinch to zoom, and without having to tap to open the media viewer.
The video player supports jumping forward or backward in the latest version. Android users double-tap on the left or right side of the screen to jump 10 seconds back or forward, iOS users press and hold the + or + buttons to jump 15 seconds back or forward.
I'm using Telegram mostly for keeping up with channels that moved from WhatsApp to Telegram. The new voice chat schedule feature is a welcome addition, and the new payment options should improve the popularity of making payments on Telegram.
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