Back in 2001, the rise of instant messaging apps had just started. ICQ was the most popular stand-alone messaging app with 100 million monthly active users. Fast-forward to 2016 and messaging apps are the game changers. Billions of people now communicate, place orders, and share their live via IM apps like Kik, Viber, Telegram, Hike, WeChat, and WhatsApp.
With its 1 billion monthly active users, WhatsApp (WA) is arguably the most popular messaging app right now. However, that may not last for long and the Facebook-owned WA has reasons to worry. Here are the reasons why WhatsApp is scared of its main competitor – Telegram.
1-Steady and Fast Growth
Since its launch on August 14, 2013 for iPhone and October 20, 2013 for Android, has recorded remarkable growth regarding active users. Just in two and half years into its launch, Telegram announced it has more than 100 million monthly active users, 350,000 new users each day, and 15 billion messages delivered daily via the app.
Given the fact that Telegram has zero budget on marketing, these statistics scare WhatsApp.
Although Telegram’s interface resemblance to WhatApp’s it is debatable, the former finds its uniqueness in supporting cross-platform devices. You can access your Telegram account and all your chats using your phone, desktop, web browser seamlessly due to its cloud-based storage functionality.
For those who really understand the ‘cross-platform’ concept, you will agree that WhatsApp failed spectacularly with its WhatsApp Web idea that requires your phone to be connected to the internet to access your chats on a browser. This means if your phone runs out charge, you also go off ‘the chats’, literary. Do you think WA are worried about that? Maybe not, read on.
3-More File Options
In a world where people and companies are shifting their communications to messaging apps, WA denied its users the ability to send any other file apart from pictures and 30-ish MB videos. Since its launch, one of the core features of Telegram was the ability to send any file type (Pictures, Videos, Documents, GIFs, ZIP, RAR, ISO, etc) up to 1.5 GB each. This feature alone has been a major reason for users shifting to non-profit making IM app – Telegram.
Selfies rule social media while screenshots have emerged as reliable evidence in the ‘social court’ and probably, in the court of law. With the secret chat feature on Telegram for Android and iOS (absent on Web and Desktop Clients), users can set a self-destruct timer of as less as 2 seconds to destroy your message immediately after it is read. WhatsApp lacks this feature and probably its developers will have to introduce soon it to retain its tech savvy user base.
Apart from its message delivery speed, Telegram has an end-to-end encryption that prevents the man-in-the-middle attacks making it more secure than WhatsApp. The encryption uses the MTProto protocol. During the ownership transfer of WhatsApp to Facebook, a considerable number of users shifted to telegram due to privacy concerns.
6-Lack Official Bots
With the ever-increasing popularity of robots and bots on messaging apps like Kik and Telegram, WhatsApp may just be getting ready for a rough ride since its does not have any official bot platform. So far Kik has a bot that allows customers place orders at restaurants while Telegram has thousands of bots on its platform. From Forbes to Kenyan companies like Kenya Power and Zuku Fiber, Telegram users can use bots like @forbesbot, @kenyapowerbot, and @zukufiberbot, respectively.
7-Increased Group Limit
Although it was launched in 2009, WhatsApp is playing catch-up with a 2-year old Telegram. A classic example involves a recent move by WA to increase its group limit from 100 to 256 members. Normal Telegram groups allow 200 members while Supergroups can have up to 5,000 members.
8-Introduced PDF Sharing
Still in the catch-up game, as predicted by Pavel Durov, Founder of Telegram, in “How To Predict WhatsApp Features” in 2014, WhatsApp has now introduced PDF file sharing. WhatsApp’s moves of introducing features already in Telegram is contrary to what Jan Koum, Founder of WhatsApp, once said about Telegram being a plagiarized idea.
9-Blocked Telegram Links On Instagram
Instagram recently censored links associated to Telegram by making them appear as plain text. It is easy to understand this move is one of Facebook’s tentacles trying to curb Telegram’s organic growth involving users moving from WhatsApp. The connection between Instagram and WhatsApp is both are Facebook-owned.
10-Blocked Telegram Links on WhatsApp
WhatsApp’s worry on Telegram’s impressive growth was clear in November 2015 when they censored telegram links. The move showed WhatsApp’s unwillingness to guarantee freedom to communication since the censored links are legal. Telegram users on Android (80% of the users) were mainly affected.
@telegram – twitter, @durov – twitter, @jankoum – twitter, @lucaandrearossi – twitter, @KenyaPower_Care – twitter, @zukuofficial – twitter, @forbes – twitter, @destraynor -twitter