Telegram, a rapidly-growing instant messaging service, now has over 200 million monthly active users, according to a post on the company’s official blog. While the number is still only a fraction of the 1.2 billion active users boasted by segment leader WhatsApp, it’s still impressive by any standards. It also shows that Telegram is quickly growing to become the most viable global competitor to WhatsApp. The app is completely free, and is not supported by any ads.
In addition to the announcement, Telegram also went on to thank users for the success. The company states that it has never promoted Telegram with ads, and indeed operates on a non-profit model. Hence, Telegram’s growth can be credited to word-of-mouth and user invitations, which has allowed the app to grow to serve the over 200 million monthly active users it does today. Telegram was founded in 2013 by Russian brothers Nikolai and Pavel Durov. The duo had previously founded Russian social network VKontakte, which is currently the most popular website in Russia by far. They left Vkontake after it was taken over by its current owner, the Mail.ru Group.
Telegram has also rolled out various updates to its service, including new stable releases for Android, iOS and Windows Phone, along with the web versions for Windows PCs, macOS and Linux. The update adds new enhanced functionality for stickers, multiple picture sending, and auto night mode. Apart from this, Telegram also recently launched Telegram X, a new and alternative client for Telegram which boasts faster speed, better animations, and more efficient battery use.
Telegram is different from WhatsApp in that it uses an entirely different way of storing and securing user’s messages. The company states that it does not rely on third-party services for storing user data and messages, instead storing everything on its own servers. This also allows users to access messages from any device, and use Telegram on multiple devices at the same time. This is different from WhatsApp, which needs to be linked to only a single device at any time, uses a web-based mirroring client and stores chat backups either on the user’s device or using third-party services such iCloud or Google Drive. With 200 million users every month backing the app, it continues to be the strongest global competitor to WhatsApp.