Messaging app Telegram is all set to introduce group video calls for its users in May, including support for web-based videoconferencing. Telegram CEO Pavel Durov made the announcement via a message posted to his official Telegram channel where he wrote "we will be adding a video dimension to our voice chats in May, making Telegram a powerful platform for group video calls".
"Screen sharing, encryption, noise-cancelling, desktop and tablet support -- everything you can expect from a modern video conferencing tool, but with Telegram-level UI, speed and encryption. Stay tuned!" he added.
The company originally planned to add the video call feature to its messaging service at some point in 2020.
Telegram often taunts rivals over their tardiness to add new features but on video calls it has been a laggard, only adding the ability to make one-on-one video calls last August, TechCrunch reported.
In an April 2020 blog post, to mark passing 400 million users, it wrote that the global lockdown had "highlighted the need for a trusted video communication tool" -- going on to dub video calls in 2020 "much like messaging in 2013". However, it also emphasised the importance of security for group video calling -- and that's perhaps what's caused the delay.
Earlier, Telegram also announced a new update to add more improvements to voice chats and a host of additional features. The new update brings Payments 2.0 for all Telegram chats, Scheduling and Mini Profiles for Voice Chats, new Telegram apps for your browser and more.
The new update also brings an auto-delete timer for messages in any chat, as well as new flexible invite links and faster access to your chats.
"We first added support for payments in 2017. Payment bots allowed users to securely pay for goods and services without leaving the app -- anything from ordering a pizza to hailing a taxi, to replacing winter tires when you're tired of winter," the company said in a blogpost on Monday.
"Starting today, merchants can natively accept credit card payments in any chat, relying on 8 integrated third-party payment providers such as Stripe," it added.
The company said it reached 400 million monthly active users in April 2020, up from 200 million in 2018.