Telegram has updated its app with new features and visual updates, including the addition of voice-to-text transcription for videos, separate topics in large group chats, and “Collectible Usernames.”
Video messaging transcription can be accessed by tapping the “→A” button on the bottom-right of a video, but won’t be available for everyone — much like Telegram’s existing voice message transcription, the feature is restricted to Telegram Premium users. A Telegram Premium subscription costs $4.99 a month and comes with additional benefits such as faster downloads, no ads, and a larger file upload limit of 4GB.
Telegram has also introduced new features for free users, starting with Topics in Groups. This allows groups with over 200 members to create separate spaces that function like individual chats, with their own notifications independent from the larger Group. The set-up is similar to Discord servers that have a single overarching focus but also side channels for more specific conversations. You can test out the feature yourself in Telegram’s own public group.
Next up is Collectible Usernames, an NFT-like asset secured by the TON blockchain network that can be purchased and sold via Fragment. Telegram says these vanity names can be less than five characters long and function just like regular usernames, appearing in Global Search results and generating ‘username.t.me’ and ‘t.me/username’ links that can be used outside of Telegram.
Telegram’s Night Mode has also been redesigned for iOS users, making colors more balanced with better blurring effects as users scroll through chats, while Android users will benefit from new options to resize text — including link previews and reply headers — via the Chat settings. Some minor design improvements have also been added, such as pulsing placeholder chat bubbles when messages are loading and a new animation for swiping left to reply. Finally, Telegram Premium users have access to twelve new emoji packs (some with a seasonal Halloween theme) that can be set as user statuses or used in messages and captions.
Telegram rounded off its update announcement with an apology for its delayed release, saying that “Apple took two weeks to review the update.” Telegram founder Pavel Durov gave additional details in a dedicated post, saying “Apple claims they review apps within 24 hours, but, in our experience, it takes at least 7-10 days for any meaningful product update to reach the App Store.” This isn’t the first time that Durov has publicly criticized Apple, having previously accused the tech giant of delaying updates for weeks and removing the ability for users on iOS to create pay-to-view posts due to Apple’s strict App Store guidelines.