Telegram, the messaging app that promises to focus on speed and security on Friday introduced the video calling facility on the platform. The company with over 400 million users on its platform said that the video calls on Telegram supports picture-in-picture mode, similar to other video content on the platform. Telegram said that the picture-in-picture mode enables users to “scroll through chats and multitask while maintaining eye contact.” The company said that the “alpha version” of the video calling facility is currently enabled on both Android and iOS.
Telegram Video Calls Support End-to-End Encryption
Telegram said that the users can start a video call from a contact’s profile page. The users are also provided the ability to switch video on or off during voice calls. The company said that the video calls on its platform are protected with end-to-end encryption.
The end-to-end encryption ensures that conversations are protected with no access to anyone including that of a company and is found on platforms like WhatsApp and Signal.
Telegram said that the users can confirm their connection by comparing the four emoji shown on-screen with their chat partner.
“If they match, your call is 100% secured by time-tested encryption also used in Telegram's Secret Chats and Voice Calls,” Telegram said in a release.
The company said that the video calling facility on its platform would receive more improvements in the future versions. The group video calls feature is also said to be introduced on the platform in the “coming months.”
Zoom Faced Scrutiny for Not offering End-to-End Encryption
In late March, Zoom was under the spotlight as a research report revealed that the app does not support end-to-end encryption even as Zoom on its website stated that it supported such a protocol. In a separate report, it was revealed that the Zoom app on iOS was leaking information to Facebook such as a user’s time zone and city and details about the user's device. The developers of Zoom on April 1, 2020, highlighted that the company would focus on enhancing security and privacy features. In mid-June, Zoom announced that the end-to-end encryption will finally make its debut on the platform with the company initially rolling out the feature as a beta update to all users.
In late April, Mozilla Foundation, the company behind the Firefox browser compared 15 popular video calling apps including FaceTime, Duo, WhatsApp and Skype on their security parameters. Mozilla Foundation said that three of the 15 apps failed to meet its minimum security standards while other apps were found to not offer end-to-end encryption by default including Messenger app and Skype.
It has to be noted that the prime competitor for Telegram, WhatsApp offers both end-to-end encryption and group video calling facility. WhatsApp received a five on five security rating from the Mozilla Foundation. However, Mozilla highlighted that WhatsApp is “owned by Facebook which means Facebook can access the personal data WhatsApp collects on you, which is bad for your privacy.”