Telegram is a cloud-based instant messaging service and a specific multi-platform messaging app developed by Telegram FZ LLC and Telegram Messenger Incorporated. It was first launched in 2013 and had around 100000 active users but its userbase had grown to more than 700 million in 2022. The app directly competes with WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger from Meta Platforms, Viber from Rakuten Group, and Line from NHN Japan. The advanced features of the app also make it a substitute for free email services like Gmail and even video conferencing platforms such as Zoom Video Communications, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet.
Pros: Advantages of Telegram Messenger
1. Rich Messaging Features
Telegram is feature-packed that has practical applications beyond instant messaging. It is somewhat similar to WhatsApp and Viber but its features are somewhat sophisticated. These include voice calls and video calls, group chats, message organization, automated chat or chatbots, secret chats, stickers, and channels.
Messaging is straightforward but the added features make it flexible for different use cases. Take note that users can organize individual and group message threads into files. This is perfect for separating personal messages and work-related messages or other categories.
The group chat capabilities of Telegram are also impressive. It can hold up to 200000 group members in a single group chat. This is ideal for work-related use cases. Several organizations have used the app as their main internal communication platform while others have used its capabilities to host chatbots for customer service representation.
2. Social Networking Aspect
Group chat can be considered a form of social media to a certain extent. But this is not the defining social feature of Telegram. This app has a feature called “channels” which allows a particular user to create one-way communication channels for his or her subscriber.
Organizations can create channels for sending out important internal announcements to their employees. A team within an organization can also create a channel for separate team-specific announcements and communications. The feature essentially expands the productivity and collaborative capabilities of this app.
An individual can also set up a channel for his or her subscribers to improve his or her digital presence. Several online influencers and celebrities have used Telegram to keep their digital followers in the loop with important happenings.
4. Unlimited Cloud Storage
Another unique selling point and advantage of Telegram when compared to other instant messaging apps is its storage offering. Take note that the entire service has no limit to the size of a particular chat threat or group chat. This has been observed even in other instant messaging services like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
However, compared to its competitors, the app offers cloud storage not only for messages but also for media files like images, videos, and audio, as well as documents. The app does not overprocess media files to retain the size and quality of the files.
Unlimited storage makes Telegram both a communication platform and a file-sharing and cloud storage platform. The files can be accessed from any device. The app also has a simple albeit useful internal file management system that organizes files under each chat or message threat. The built-in search engine makes these files readily accessible.
5. Free, Encryption, and Open Source
The entire service is based on a freemium business model. This means that it is free for all users. The same users can also opt for a subscription-based service to expand the capabilities of each feature. An example would be expanding the group chat capacity.
All messages and calls coursed through this platform are encrypted. The specific end-to-end encryption feature means that only the sender and recipient can receive them. This makes it a secure communication platform. The privacy controls also allow a user to limit what data and information he or she can share with his or her contact list.
It is also important to note that Telegram is open source. It has an open API and source code that are accessible to everyone. Take note that the fact that the source code is open means that it can be inspected and scrutinized to make sure it is secure and free from malware.
6. Other Advantages of Telegram
Telegram is a cross-platform instant messaging service. The app is available on all major platforms or operating systems. These include desktop operating systems Windows, macOS, and Linux, and mobile operating systems like Android and iOS and iPadOS. Messages and files are accessible and synchronized across different devices for a seamless experience.
Another interesting advantage of this platform is that it is free from advertisements. Take note that some of the most popular instant messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger and Viber have ads that can be intrusive and distracting.
The app is also customizable despite being straightforward. A user can change the look and feel of the user interface to match his or her own preferences. He or she can also register using his or her mobile number or a dedicated username for improved personal privacy. The app also supports passcode and built-in biometrics to prevent unintended access.
Cons: Disadvantages of Telegram Messenger
1. Still Has a Limited Global User Base
The platform now has more than 700 million registered users. However, despite its impressive growth over the past years and its number of current users, its entire user base is still considered limited compared to other instant messaging services like Facebook Messenger. This can limit wider adaptation in certain applications or use cases.
It is also worth mentioning that other platforms or apps dominate in other markets. Viber has a strong presence in Southeast Asia. Organizations like businesses and even government agencies have been using the platform to connect to their audience.
The relatively smaller user base or limited reach of the platform also means that a user might not be able to reach all of his or her contacts and would be forced to other instant messaging services. The same disadvantage also translates to the fact that there are few developers creating bots and other third-party apps for the platform.
2. Cross-Platform Unavailability of Some Features
It is true that the app can be downloaded on most mainstream platforms of operating systems. However, despite this apparent advantage, it is also worth mentioning that not all features are available in a particular version of the app.
The specific mobile applications for Android and iOS or iPadOS are the most feature-rich version of Telegram. The “lite” app for the macOS is considered a scaled-down version because it does not support features like advanced voice calls with video calls and customizations. The same is true for the Windows and Linux versions.
Some reports have noted that there is some lag and discrepancies between the desktop versions of the app and the mobile versions. This has been noticeable in message delivery and overall message and file synchronization in some instances.
3. Notable Data Privacy Concerns of Telegram
Take note that using the instant messaging service collects user data. These include phone numbers, email addresses, and names, among others. Some might consider this as a disadvantage of Telegram. Users are also notified when someone in their contact list joins the platform. It is worth mentioning that other services or apps and platforms also do the same.
Data collection can also be a concern depending on how the company behind the platform processes and stores all the data collected from its users. This could be a data privacy issue since the company does not disclose its data handling practices.
Another drawback is that messages and files are stored in servers despite the end-to-end encryption. The quality of encryption has not been scrutinized. This is another problem if hackers manage to infiltrate servers. Authorities might also force the company to hand over user data for legal compliance and during important investigations.
4. Concerns Over Business Feasibility
Remember that Telegram is a freemium instant messaging service that does not offer advertisements. Its main source of revenue is through its subscription business model. Most users remain under the free version of the platform.
It appears that the service does not have a sustainable business model and more reliable sources of revenue considering the size of its user base. The cost of upkeep of the service is tremendous considering its instant messaging and unlimited cloud storage features. This could affect further developments and the sustainability of the platform in the future.
However, if it changed its mind and decide to offer advertisements on its various app versions to improve its revenues, some users might move to other instant messaging platforms. Remember that ad-free offering is one of the advantages of Telegram.