WhatsApp, the popular cross-platform messaging service, made headlines in February when it was purchased by Facebook for $19 billion. The acquisition was cause for concern for many WhatsApp users, however, because they were concerned that Facebook would alter the service in less than favourable ways.
For many mobile users, their phone is an extension of their personalities, and not just in terms of custom live wallpapers and personalised phone cases. Gadget lovers like to be in control of the software they put on their phones, and a Facebook-owned version of WhatsApp goes against that. Enter Telegram, a tech-lover’s and open source advocate’s dream.
Image source play.google.com
Telegram aims to help users take back their right to privacy. It offers sophisticated private messaging, including encryption and a self-destruct feature. In addition, it is cloud-based, so you can view your messages on multiple devices. It is cross-platform and there are versions for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and desktop operating systems. There’s even a command-line version on offer for the most dedicated of Linux users. Telegram promises that it will be free and ad-free forever.
Can Telegram Really Grow?
On paper, Telegram sounds like a brilliant system. The biggest problem that it will face is that there are so many existing instant messaging services. Why would anyone move away from their existing IM accounts to use Telegram? WhatsApp sold itself as an alternative to SMS messaging. Telegram is trying to be a one-size-fits-all platform and it is hard to justify using it when your friends are on Jabber, Facebook Chat, Blackberry Messenger, AIM, Skype or one of many other platforms. Even Steam, the game digital distribution platform, has built-in chat and mobile clients. So why install another to chat with your friends?
Telegram is likely to gain a cult following amongst privacy activists and people who are fans of the open API. If WhatsApp continues to have server issues, then people may consider moving over to Telegram too. In that case, it may gain the traction necessary to succeed. However, in the short term it is hard to imagine that it will achieve critical mass.
Too Many Clients?
Another potential issue that Telegram may face is that the open API means anyone can make a client for it. While this is a good thing in many ways, it means that the platform is suffering from client fragmentation at an early stage. It may have been better for Telegram to start out with just a couple of official clients and open up the API once it had gained critical mass.
With all that said, Telegram is a completely free platform, and installing it on your phone or desktop is a simple and painless process, so there is no harm in trying it out. Why not install it today and become a trendsetter among your friends?
Ed Ockleford is experienced in multiple business areas but he has flourished in the retail industry successfully running independent units as well as licensing his services. Ed is now a director at mrnutcase.com – business he has successfully grown and developed over the past 3 years.