Telegram followed through on a promise to launch video calling in 2020, enabling one-on-one sessions as it works toward the rollout of group calling capabilities.
Now available on iOS and Android, the new video calling tool features picture-in-picture mode, allowing users to multitask while on a call. Telegram stressed all video calls use end-to-end encryption, which can be verified by ensuring a set of emojis displayed to each chat partner match.
In a blog, the company said the rollout comes in response to an increased “need for face-to-face communication”, adding it is working to launch group video calls “in the coming months”.
The move could help Telegram better compete with Facebook-owned WhatsApp, which also provides secure messaging and calling with end-to-end encryption. WhatsApp launched one-to-one video calling in November 2016, and followed with group calling capabilities in July 2018.
But Telegram has a long way to go to catch up to WhatsApp: while the former boasts over 400 million users, WhatsApp crossed the 2 billion user mark in February 2020.