Telegram Messenger 4.5 Update Brings Albums, Saved Messages, and Better Search

Encrypted messenger app Telegram received an update today that brings additional features and enhancements to the platform, including media albums, saved messages, and an improved search function.

Starting with Telegram 4.5, whenever users send multiple photos or videos they will be grouped into albums. Each album can include up to 10 photos or videos, which are displayed in chat threads as "elegantly proportioned thumbnails", the upshot being that recipients will be notified just the once instead of ten times over.


The order in which the photos are sent can now be controlled within the app, too. Photos selected for sharing get a sequence number, so users can send "before and after" pictures in the correct order. In addition, users should find profile photos easier to navigate, thanks to thumbnails that show in the lower part of the screen.

Elsewhere, Telegram users can now bookmark important messages and media by forwarding them to a personal cloud storage area called Saved Messages. Each saved message also has a "go to" button that takes users to the place in the chat where it was originally posted. Saved Messages can be found in the Chats list and in Settings.

The developers have also improved the global search algorithm used for finding public channels, groups, and bots. It's now possible to search for public channels and bots by their titles, and most popular items will always be displayed first.

Lastly, Channel admins can now pin messages to focus their subscribers' attention on important announcements, while the settings screen and context menu has been redesigned. The app has also been tweaked for iPhone X.

Telegram is a free download for iPhone and iPad from the App Store. [Direct Link]


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Afghan Government Moves to Block WhatsApp, Telegram Messaging Services

Afghanistan's government has ordered a block on messaging services WhatsApp and Telegram, according to a letter sent to the country's internet providers that was widely shared over social media on Saturday.

The letter was reportedly sent to Afghan ISPs after the country's National Directorate for Security ordered the move, in what some observers believe is an attempt to prevent use of the encrypted messaging services by the Taliban and other insurgent groups.

According to Reuters, the letter by telecoms regulator ATRA, dated November 1 and signed by an official of the regulator, directed internet companies to block Telegram and Facebook's WhatsApp services "without delay" for a period of 20 days.

However, the temporary ban does not yet appear to have been enforced, with both services said to be still working normally on Saturday on both state-owned operator Salaam and private service providers.


Public use of mobile phones has boomed in Afghanistan since the Taliban was removed from power by a U.S-led campaign in 2001, while use of services like WhatsApp, Messenger, and Viber are popular among the country's politicians as well as the Taliban, which also maintains a sophisticated social media operation.

However, civil rights groups and Afghan social media users have criticized the attempt to block the chat platforms. Many argue such a ban is unenforceable anyway because it can be circumvented by the use of virtual private networks (VPNs).

Prominent newspaper editor Parwiz Kawa told the BBC that his country was finally an open society after years of censorship, therefore any ban on social media would not be tolerated.

"The public reaction - including our own front page - is to resist," he said. "We can't tolerate any ban on social media or any censorship."

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


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Telegram Chat App Gains Reply/Mention Alerts, Twitch Video Support, and More

Encrypted chat platform Telegram pushed out a new iOS app update on Sunday, with a new reply/mentions alert system among several other tweaks and improvements.

Since 2015 when Telegram first introduced the reply feature, the maximum group chat size has increased from a maximum 200 members to 10,000. As a result, new user mentions and replies in group chats can happen several times a day.


To help users stay on top of these messages, Telegram 4.3 has introduced a new in-app notification badge. Now, whenever someone replies to a user or mentions them in a group, an "@" symbol appears in the chats list. A tap on the new "@" button takes the user to the new replies/mentions and disappears once all the relevant messages have been read.

Elsewhere, the "Invite Friends" section in Contacts has been completely redesigned. Going forward, contacts that are not on Telegram yet but have many friends using it are now listed at the top, making it easier to invite them to the chat platform.

Twitch videos are now supported in the Telegram in-app player, so it's now possible to watch Twitch streams in Picture-in-Picture mode while chatting with friends. And when on a Telegram voice call, users can check the signal strength using the new indicator. It's also now possible to edit any photo pasted directly to a chat from clipboard before sending.

For those who use stickers in Telegram, anyone with five or more sticker sets installed can now mark individual stickers as "favorites" and have them always accessible at the top of the sticker panel in the "star" section. And large groups with 100 members and more can now choose an official sticker set for all the members of the group to see and use while they're chatting in the group, without having to add it to their panels.

Lastly, users can now switch between "This Chat" and "All Chats" when conducting a hashtag search, and when viewing Instant View pages in the app, it's now possible to open the original articles in Safari.

Telegram is a free download for iPhone and iPad from the App Store. [Direct Link]

Tag: Telegram

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Telegram Encrypted Chat App Gains Self-Destructing Video and Photo Messages

Encrypted messaging app Telegram received an update on Sunday that makes it the latest chat platform to embrace Snapchat-style disappearing messages.

Up until now, Telegram users have only been able to send text-based "secret chats" that self-delete, but in version 4.2 of the app they can now share videos and photos armed with a self-destruct timer.


Timers are set using the clock icon in the media picker and can be anything up to one minute long. The countdown starts the moment the recipient opens the photo or video that's sent, and the sender is notified if the recipient tries to take a screenshot of the disappearing media.

Elsewhere in the update, there's an improved photo editor and a speed boost for media downloads from large public channels, thanks to new encrypted content delivery networks.

Lastly, users can now add a bio to their profile in settings, so that people in large group chats know who they are. Telegram is a free download for iPhone and iPad from the App Store. [Direct Link]


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Encrypted Chat App Telegram to Remove Terrorist Content Following Ban Threat in Indonesia

Telegram is to form a team of moderators to remove terrorist-related content from the encrypted messaging platform in Indonesia, after the country's government threatened to ban the app.

Indonesia's Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has already blocked access to the web version of the chat platform, citing concerns that it was being used to spread "radical and terrorist propaganda" in the country, according to Reuters.

"This has to be done because there are many channels on this service that are full of radical and terrorist propaganda, hatred, ways to make bombs, how to carry out attacks, disturbing images, which are all in conflict with Indonesian law," the communications ministry said in a statement on its website.
Telegram co-founder Pavel Durov said on Sunday that the service had blocked channels reported by the government and that it would take further action to remove the illegal content.
"We are forming a dedicated team of moderators with knowledge of Indonesian culture and language to be able to process reports of terrorist-related content more quickly and accurately," Durov said in a Telegram post quoted by Associated Press.
Telegram has been criticized by governments before for its use by terrorist groups to spread propaganda and recruit members. Last month Telegram agreed to provide basic information about the company to Russia after authorities threatened to block access to the service.

Despite pressure from governments, Telegram's founders have refused to bow to demands for backdoors into the platform for authorities to access encrypted messages, arguing that security and privacy are central tenets of the service.

Speaking to The Wall Street Journal on Sunday, Durov said Telegram is "heavily encrypted and privacy-oriented, but we're no friends of terrorists – in fact, every month we block thousands of ISIS-related public channels".

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


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Russia Threatens to Ban Encrypted Messaging App Telegram

Russia has threatened to block access to the Telegram messaging platform unless the company that runs the app provides more information about itself (via Sky News).

The head of communications regulator Roskomnadzor, Alexander Zharov, said repeated efforts to obtain the information had been ignored by the company and warned that "time is running out" for the app.

"There is one demand and it is simple: to fill in a form with information on the company that controls Telegram," Zharov said in an open letter. "And to officially send it to Roskomnadzor to include this data in the registry of organizers of dissemination of information. In case of refusal… Telegram shall be blocked in Russia until we receive the needed information."
Telegram's non-response appears to be down to the repercussions of handing over the requested details: Doing so would effectively add it to the state regulators' registry, which would require it to retain users' chat histories and encryption keys and share them with authorities if asked, according to Russian news agency TASS.

The demand isn't the first time the Russian founders of Telegram – Kremlin, Nikolai and Pavel Durov – have failed to comply with state requests. In 2014, the Durovs refused to turn over data on Ukranian users of Vkontakte, a social network they also set up together.

Telegram claims to split its encryption keys into separate data centers around the world to ensure "no single government or block of like-minded countries can intrude on people's privacy and freedom of expression".

According to the group's policy, it can only be forced to hand over data if "an issue is grave and universal enough to pass the scrutiny of several different legal systems around the world".

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


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Telegram Encrypted Messenger Gains Video Support, Bot Payments, and More

Encrypted messaging platform Telegram received a significant update today, bringing video messaging, bot payments, and other new features to the chat app.

In version 4.0 of Telegram, users can activate video messaging with a tap of the mic icon to switch to camera mode, or tap and hold the icon to record a quick video clip. Swiping up while recording enables handsfree mode, which works with voice notes too. Users can also stop and replay the clip before sending.


In addition, chat bots can now accept payments, with the developers saying that users will soon be able to order pizza, shop for clothes, and potentially pay their utility bills using Telegram bots.

Also included in the update is a new Instant View feature, which is similar to Google's AMP platform. Essentially it enables users to view articles directly from within the Telegram app, and comes with the added ability to create article previews using the Instant View Editor.

Lastly, Telegram has also announced a new service called Telesco.pe that lets anyone watch video messages from public Telegram channels.

Telegram is a free download for iPhone and iPad from the App Store. [Direct Link]

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Telegram Messaging Platform Introduces Encrypted Voice Calling Feature

Mobile messaging app Telegram introduced voice calls today, bringing the communications platform's secure feature list up to date and more in line with rival chat apps WhatsApp, Viber, Messenger, and Signal.

Telegram said in a blog post that the voice calls are based on the same end-to-end encryption methods as its Secret chats feature, but says it has introduced a new "key exchange mechanism" to make sure calls are even more secure.


The key verification UI we came up with in 2013 to protect against man-in-the-middle attacks served well for Telegram (and for other apps that adopted it), but for Calls we needed something easier. That‘s why we’ve improved the key exchange mechanism.

To make sure your call is 100% secure, you and your recipient just need to compare four emoji over the phone. No lengthy codes or complicated pictures!


Whenever possible, calls go over a peer-to-peer connection, "using the best audio codecs to save traffic while providing crystal-clear quality", according to Telegram. If a peer-to-peer connection can't be established, the closest server to the user is connected to instead.

Once a voice call is made, a dedicated tab for calls appears on the main screen of the app. The Voice Calls feature rolls out in Western Europe today, with the rest of the world to get them "very soon".

In addition to voice calls, the latest v3.18 version of the app also offers users direct control over the quality of videos shared over the platform. Telegram remembers the compression rate once it has been selected, and uses it as the default setting for future video uploads.

Telegram is a free download for iPhone on the App Store. [Direct Link]

Tag: Telegram

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