Security messaging app Telegram has launched encrypted voice calls offering one more way for its users to stay connected in a secure way. The roll out of the feature has commenced in Western Europe.
According to Telegram, voice calls through its messaging service are being encrypted using the same end-to-end encryption technology that is used in the Secret Chats feature. Instead of using an open encryption protocol such as the one used by messaging app Signal, Telegram developed its own encryption tech. This has been criticised by some security experts in the past but Telegram has repeatedly defended its technology, claiming that it has never been cracked.
The key exchange mechanism in Telegram voice calls involves emoji. In encrypted calls, each person on the call gets a message on screen that need to compare to ensure that the encryption is working as expected. Some apps such as Signal use random phrases, but Telegram says it’s using four emoji for this instead. This means less complication at the same level of security.
Telegram claims that voice calls will connect faster as they’ll go over a peer-to-peer connection and use audio codecs best suited to save data while providing good quality calls. For those who don’t want to use this feature, Telegram lets you switch off voice calls altogether, and even lets you decide which of your contacts can call you on the app. This gives it a leg up over most other messaging apps that support calls.
Apart from calls, Telegram v3.18 also allows people to select the level of compression for videos. If your data plan is about to be exhausted or if Internet is slow, you can select higher compression and save both space and data.
Telegram says that global roll out will commence over the next few months. One thing that intrigues is that Telegram is rather a late entrant in the voice calls arena and whether the feature could help it garner more users. The secure messaging service claims that it may have taken its time to launch this feature but the reason is that it has spent a lot of time working on the feature to ensure that its calling features offers “the best in terms of quality, speed, and security”.