Telegram will counter Zoom with its take on group video calls

The Telegram icon on an Honor View 20 on a blue background with a cat and a fish.

  • Telegram will launch a group video call feature in May.
  • It will take on Zoom with encryption, background noise reduction, and screen sharing.
  • Expect it to be available on PCs, phones, and tablets.

Telegram hasn’t been shy about courting fleeing WhatsApp users, and now it’s aiming at a new target: people who want an alternative to Zoom.  As TechCrunch reports, Telegram founder Pavel Durov has revealed that his messaging app will add a group video call feature sometime in May.

This won’t be a rudimentary feature, Durov said. Telegram will encrypt your video call as you might expect, but it’ll also include background noise cancellation, screen sharing, and other features you’d hope for in a “modern” platform. You’d just get Telegram’s interface, speed and security.

Read more: WhatsApp vs Telegram vs Signal: Which app should you use?

The group video call feature should support desktop and tablet users in addition to phones, the Telegram founder added.

Telegram was relatively late to video call functionality — it only added two-person conversations in August, well after WhatsApp and others. This signals an intent to catch up, and it’s an acknowledgment that video chats are vital during a pandemic when in-person meetups aren’t typically an option.

There’s also a pragmatic incentive for Telegram to add a group video call function. TechCrunch noted that Telegram has been rushing to raise money, picking up over $1 billion just by selling bonds. The new feature gives backers a reason to keep pouring money into Telegram, showing that their money could make the app a rival to Zoom and other tech heavyweights.

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