Telegram announced a big list of new features today that you’ll see both in mobile apps and on desktop and web clients. From a new Payments 2.0 experience to new additions to voice chats, a better media experience, and fancy animations on Android, there is a lot of new to take in here.
The headline from Telegram is this new Payments 2.0 feature, where merchants can now accept payments (and tips) directly in chats on any Telegram app from several payment providers. The idea here is that a participating vendor could be linked within a chat, which you then click through to order pizza or buy a shirt, that sort of thing, without leaving the app.
Telegram says they take no commission and store no payment information through this. Merchants can take advantage of this using the Payment API. You’ll have to let me know if you find a vendor offering and how smoothly it all works.
The update introduces several new features to voice chats, a trend I refuse to participate in, but that millions of people seem to think is the absolute hotness. The new Telegram lets users schedule a voice chat that will even show a countdown to interested parties, allow for voice chat reminders, and a way to view mini profiles of folks participating in a voice chat.
If you’d like to schedule a voice chat on Android, head into the channel or group of the chat, tap the menu button, then, Start Voice chat > Schedule Voice Chat.
On a media front, this new build includes pinch-to-zoom on photos from the chat, so you don’t first have to tap on an image to view, then zoom. When in the chat, just pinch out or in on a preview and it’ll zoom out to the full screen if you want it to. Additionally, the video player now has better controls for fast-forwarding or rewinding. All you need to do is press and hold the right or left side of the screen to move video in either direction, or you could double-tap to jump 10 seconds at a time.
For Android users, Telegram built in better animations when entering or leaving chats and opening the side menu. If you checkout today’s blog post from Telegram, you can see these in action (a subtle background motion has been added) and while they aren’t dramatically different, we’ll take the improvements.
Finally, Telegram is introducing two new web clients today called “Web K” and “Web Z.” Why two? I have no idea. They claim each is different in some way and both are fully featured. You’ll be able to test each by hitting those links below and signing-in to your account. After looking at each, yes, the UI elements are slightly different, but I’m not noticing anything major just yet. We’ll have to play around some.
Google Play Link: Telegram (direct download from Telegram)
Telegram said that they’ve pushed this new update to Google Play, but Google told them they are “currently experiencing longer than usual review times due to adjusted work schedules” and so the update isn’t live there yet. If you want it now, Telegram always offers a direct download to the latest .apk file that can be sideloaded. I’ll let you decide if you want to do that. There is a link above.