Telegram: A suitable alternative/replacement for WhatsApp

“But WhatsApp is working so well!!!” – random person on the street

This is phone territory, which I thought I wouldn’t write about, but like most people, I use a smart phone which has now encroached into desktop/laptop territory.

“But WhatsApp cannot be installed on any other device apart from your phone!”

“Exactly… Thats why we have Telegram”

Telegram VS Whatsapp: Let the wars begin!

Screenshot from Telegram website (Android)

Screenshot from Telegram website (Android)

Strengths

1. Ability to install on most devices
(including Ubuntu phones, Windows, Mac OSX, Linux, Android and IOS)

WhatsApp has always been anal to customers wanting to install the program on multiple devices. This is an extreme pain in the ass to deal with, especially when I am switching my sim card to my old phone to access my old messages/when my new phone is broken, only to find out that I can’t use WhatsApp on it, requiring to tediously activate and deactivate again.

With Telegram, if I were busy with my work on my PC, I don’t have to walk to the bedroom to pick my phone, I can just access it on the PC! Messages are obviously synced between devices like a cloud.

The OSX version

The OSX version

2. Messages are fast

There are bad days for WhatsApp, where messages take a few minutes up to a day to be sent. Telegram has been reported by many users to be more responsive. We should stick to see if they can maintain this.

3. Free! Open Source!

Telegram is open source. Open source means third parties are able to write programs for it, integrate it into their social hub application or change the code in anyway they want. It also means that the community will be able to improve it. This also means that the application will be free, FOREVER!!

Whatsapp is free only for the first year and you will have to cough up $0.99 USD per year to maintain and renew. Even with the low price tag, WhatsApp is not open-source which means they can change their pricing anytime, even tomorrow.

4. Lightweight

Telegram opens much faster and hardly uses any resources on the background. This means that you can run both WhatsApp and Telegram while your good wise friends wean off WhatsApp.

5. Security and Privacy

Telegram is currently less prone to hacking and sensitive messages can have a self-destruct mode. This allows evidence to be erased for whatever reason.

6. Send any kind of file up to 1 GB

At the time of writing, WhatsApp only allows you to send photos and videos and the file size is a lot smaller (12 mb).

Weakness

1. Not everyone is on Telegram

I was quite surprised at my switchover to find quite a number of friends already on Telegram. However, WhatsApp still has the lion’s share of the market and definitely a greater advertising potential.

2. Low advertising potential and low pick up rate

I am still reluctant to support a company/monopoly that charges you for a product when a free/better equivalent is available and where your money is spent on adverts that others did not request to see, however, the rate at which users are switching over is dissapointing. Perhaps like Firefox and Internet Explorer, it may take a few years before people are willing to stop paying 1 USD a year.

Overview

Telegram is a promising platform for messaging. It uses the same telephone number system as WhatsApp but offers more features. Unfortunately an app is only as good as the number of people on it. Due to its lightweightness, I suggest users run both Telegram and Whatsapp. Afterall, many have decided to abandon Internet Explorer for better alternatives have they not? Telegram is open source, it will last forever, anyone can fork the project and make it better, or even integrate it to their program.

For more information, you may visit Telegram’s website.

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