There are two kinds of people in this world. Folks who are proponents of iPhone and those who prefer Android; those who love Facebook and people who are always on Twitter. Finally, we have those who use WhatsApp and the die-hard fans of Telegram. Today, the distinct features of both applications (WhatsApp and Telegram) are up for discussion.
What makes WhatsApp what it is? How is Telegram any different? Do they share similarities? Is there a better app? What determines superiority? Let’s dig deeper.
In 2009, two former employees of Yahoo sought employment at Facebook and they got rejected. These two, Brian Acton and Jan Koum, then sat together to develop a communication app. They hired a Russian developer and together, they came up with WhatsApp. In case you’re wondering, the app was named after the popular phrase, “What’s up?”
Five years after the inception of their idea, Facebook bought the company for $19 billion. What an irony, right? Now in 2018, with over 1.5 billion monthly users, this investment seems to have paid off and the app has endeared itself to users all over the world. The features which make WhatsApp the sensation it is will be analyzed in the ensuing paragraphs.
But first, let’s see WhatsApp’s burgeoning rival, Telegram.
The founder is fondly called Russia’s Mark Zuckerberg, however, this whiz kid is in a world of his own. Pavel Durov, with the help of his brother Nikolai, created Telegram in 2013. According to Forbes magazine, he has amassed over 1.7 billion dollars since Telegram.
One distinct feature about Pavel is his emphasis on security. At a time, he was asked to provide Russian authorities with the personal data of certain pro-European activists. His decision was an emphatic no and this caused him to flee the country, settling in Dubai.
Now, we can go on to explore the differences between both applications.
Pavel Durov, when he was interviewed recently, claimed that his major motivation for partaking in the creation of Telegram was to “Build a means of communication that cannot be accessed by Russian security agencies.” There’s no doubt that security is of great importance to the team.
Telegram boasts features such as Secret Chat which provides end-to-end encryption for conversations. This Secret Chat isn’t traceable on the company’s server and messages can self-destruct based on the timer you set. They are even a step ahead by admitting that they aren’t as foolproof as they think, hence, they regularly provide incentives to developers who find critical bugs in their framework.
One more thing to note, Telegram has no shareholders or advertisers to report to. The owner boasted that they haven’t disclosed even a bit of information to any third party. After the Paris attack in 2015, the Islamic State group had accounts linked to Telegram and these accounts were promptly shut down.
WhatsApp, on the other hand, incorporates the concept of Secret Chat into every conversation (it is not just a feature). They use the open-source encryption standard by Open Whisper Systems to achieve this feat. Although when you remember the Cambridge Analytica scandal involving Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, you might begin to have doubts about the security of your personal data on WhatsApp.
Once again, Telegram demonstrates its superiority in this aspect. The file sharing capabilities are way better when compared to WhatsApp and this is due to the cloud system Telegram employs. The photos shared on Telegram are neither compressed nor pixelated. Also, the maximum size of video you can share on Telegram is 1.5GB. It is 16 MB on WhatsApp. You will even notice that Telegram channels broadcast movies in full HD quality.
Telegram also allows you to download the same file on different platforms, as many times as you want. On WhatsApp though, deleting a picture erases it from the system’s memory.
Group Chats, Channels, and Super Groups
WhatsApp, once again, fails to win the majority vote here. WhatsApp’s group has a maximum user limit of 256 members. Telegram has super groups which can house as many as 100,000 users. Apart from this, we have channels which broadcast their content (news updates, videos, TV series, pictures, etc.) to members and the content is downloadable. Go, Telegram!
Apart from the issue of security, privacy is another major concern for Telegram users. For one, WhatsApp requires your phone number to initiate a chat. This might be bad news for some people as it opens them up to unwarranted calls. However, Telegram can either use your phone number or your username.
Also, the process of changing your phone number to a new one is far easier on Telegram. Your contacts get your number automatically if they weren’t blocked by you.
Let’s say you were typing on your phone and you had to leave your phone to attend to something else for a while, you should meet a saved version of what you were typing, right? Well, this is not always the case with WhatsApp.
However, you can try the same with Telegram. Begin typing, close the app, forget about it for months, and when you open it, the draft will still remain. Not only this, let’s say you were typing on your phone and then your phone got stolen. Open your PC, access the Telegram client, and voila! Your draft is on your PC.
It appears as though this comparison was an exposition of the superiority Telegram has over WhatsApp, and this is not far from the truth. Ardent users of Instant Messaging can attest to the fact that the arrival of Telegram brought about drastic improvements to WhatsApp. In fact, Telegram vs WhatsApp is one clear example of how competition drives innovation.
Yet, WhatsApp boasts a larger user base. Although, we can attribute this to the fact that WhatsApp has been around for longer and they have access to more funds compared to Telegram. WhatsApp or Telegram, which are you gunning for?
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