Telegram rolled out artificial intelligence (AI) powered voice calls, “built upon the time-tested end-to-end encryption of its chats”, in western Europe and followed “very soon” by the rest of the world.
The app maker said it fine tuned a key verification user interface first deployed in 2013 to protect against man-in-the-middle attacks, and requires users to complete an emoji-based key exchange designed to ensure calls are fully secure.
When possible, calls will go over a peer-to-peer (P2P) connection, using audio codecs to provide clear quality. If a P2P connection can’t be established, Telegram will use the closest server to the user.
“Unlike other apps, Telegram has a distributed infrastructure all over the world which we’ve already been using to deliver your texts faster than other apps. Now these servers will also be used for calls,” the firm explained.
In coming months, the app maker plans to expand its content delivery network around the globe to boost connection speeds even in remote areas.
The app features built-in machine learning so each time a call is made, a neural network learns from the device‘s feedback (it doesn’t have access to the content of the conversation, only technical information including network speed and ping times) to improve the quality of future calls.
Telegram believes its calls are “already superior” to its competitors on comparable connections, and the firm trumpeted the fact calls are lightweight and automatically adapt to the speed and type of users’ connections, to ensure they consume the least amount of data possible.
Users can also reduce data spending by another 25 per cent to 30 per cent at the expense of sound quality.
Another feature Telegram is rolling out will allow users to to select the degree of compression before sending a video, and the company said a feature enabling users to preview how recipients will see a video before it is sent is a first on a messaging app.
The company launched the service amid growing scrutiny of encrypted communication apps.
In light of the recent attack in London, UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd said platforms like Telegram and WhatsAppp need “to take a more proactive and leading role in tackling the terrorist abuse of their platforms.”