Telegram rolls out group video calling feature; AWS acquires Wickr

Telegram rolls out group video calling feature; AWS acquires Wickr
Photo Credit: 123RF.com
28 Jun, 2021

After promising video calls back in April 2020, instant messaging app Telegram has finally rolled out the feature. 

The update will be available to users across mobile devices, tablets, and desktops enabling them make video conference calls, the company said last Friday. 

With this move the messaging app has intensified competition in the video conference enablers which has players such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Zoom, Google Meet and Apple’s FaceTime. The update on Telegram also carries features such as animated backgrounds, new animated emojis, message sending animations, and a special menu button for bots, the company said in a blogpost.  

In India, Telegram saw its popularity rise when rival WhatsApp came under the scanner for data privacy issues earlier this year. At that time, Telegram had also introduced a feature allowing users to import chat history from WhatsApp and other instant messaging apps.  

In March 2021, Telegram had updated its voice chat feature, which was rolled out in December 2020. Dubbed Voice Chats 2.0, the feature allowed users to conduct live voice chat sessions in channels for unlimited participants.  

Separately, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has also pushed into the encrypted messaging app space with Wickr acquisition.  

The company did not disclose the financial details of the purchase. Industry watchers say the development comes against the backdrop of a long drawn $10 billion JEDI contract case. In October 2019, Department of Defense had picked rival Microsoft for the contract, which AWS has contested. However, with several use cases for the messaging app – from enterprises to ecommerce – it remains unclear how exactly AWS plans to integrate the platform in its services. 

“With Wickr, customers and partners benefit from advanced security features not available with traditional communications services – across messaging, voice and video calling, file sharing, and collaboration. This gives security conscious enterprises and government agencies the ability to implement important governance and security controls to help them meet their compliance requirements,” Stephen Schmidt, Amazon Web Services' vice president, said in a blogpost.