The latest update to messaging app Telegram has added a couple of welcome features to the platform that presents itself as a secure alternative to WhatsApp. The first enables users to record minute-long videos to send to one another instead of having to type out their feelings using boring old words. Telegram is boasting that sending these clips will be much faster than other services, since the video is compressed and transmitted while you record.
As part of Telegram’s new push into video, the company has launched a new feature, Telescope, to enable public broadcasts. If you have fans, and want to address them directly, you can record a video that anyone can see — even if they’re not on Telegram. All anyone has to do is head over to a public URL based on your public channel name to keep in touch with your latest update to your adoring public.
Telegram’s also getting into the mobile payments game with Payments for Bots, that lets you compensate bots for various services rendered. The transactions are being handled by Stripe in the US, with more providers coming online for other countries and regions in the coming days. RazorPay, for instance, will enable the service in Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana, while Yandex Money will do the same job in Russia. The platform also works with ApplePay, and Telegram is enabling bot developers to build commerce products quickly and without prior approval. If you’re wondering, yes, the feature has existed in other places before: Facebook implemented a very similar system on its platform late last year.
Rounding out the new feature list is Instant View, a new way of reading linked websites in a similar way to Google’s AMP and Facebook’s Instant Articles. If you share an article with someone else, they’ll be able to read a version presented in a “uniform and easily readable way,” with a clean, text-heavy layout. This works even if the source website hasn’t been optimized to work with mobile devices, and should load fast too, since a copy of the text is stored on Telegram’s servers.