Send Free and Encrypted Messages with Telegram

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WhatsApp might be a widely used and well known messaging app, but its recent acquisition by Facebook has raised some privacy concerns as well as skepticism about Facebook’s real intentions for that app. Luckily for us, there are many good alternatives and Telegram is one of them.

Telegram’s latest official version is 1.4.4 and a 9.5MB download on the Play Store (there is an iOS version too). It will take nearly 13.75MB once it has been installed and will work on devices with Android 2.2 and up.

The app has a very low impact on the battery and does not show ads of any kind; its creators say the service will be free forever, with no plans for future annual fees or in-app purchases.

If you never installed a messaging app like this one or if you want to change the one you are currently using, Telegram is an interesting alternative due to the privacy and security options it includes and its open source nature.

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As unveiled by KRDS Social Media Agency in 2013 according to Infographic, below are the top 10 instant messaging apps in the world: 1. WeChat, 600 million registered users, originates from China. (100-500m installs) 2. WhatsApp, 590 million registered users, originates from USA. (100-500m installs) 3. Facebook Messenger, 300-550 million registered users, most popular in USA. (100-500m installs) 4. Line, 300 million registered users, originates from Japan. (100-500m installs) 5. Viber, 200 million registered users, originates from Israel. (100-500m installs) 6. Snapchat, 100 million registered users, originates from USA. (50-100m installs) 7. KakaoTalk, 100 million registered users, originates from South Korea. (100-500m installs) 8. ChatON, 100 million registered users, preinstalled in Samsung devices. (100-500m installs) 9. QQ, 478 million mobile users, originates from China. (5-10m installs) 10. Skype, 299 million connected users, acquired by Microsoft in 2011. (100-500m installs) I've added the number of installs of the apps from Google's Play Store in brackets above for reference. Other than Snapchat and QQ, the rest of the apps have more than 100m installs. Telegram has achieved 10-50m installs, supersedes QQ in the above list now :)
A very interesting list Jojo Yee, thanks for sharing it. :D WhatsApp and Facebook's Messenger dominance in the western hemisphere is out of the question. It is pretty interesting to see that Telegram has made it to the list and replaced QQ; it has a long road ahead when compared to the rest, though. As for ChatOn and Skype's numbers, the fact that they come pre-installed in Samsung and Nokia devices give them some advantage, but that's just my opinion. It will be interesting if we could open a thread about this topic on the forum, don't you think so?.
Good article IO.Hazard. It's nice to make people aware of such apps. There are quite a few apps on Play Store, which are truly free (unlike WhatsApp), but the problem is that people do not want to change. Here in India, WhatsApp is hugely popular, and people are sticking to it. I found out at the time I started using it, that it wasn't a true free app. It's free only for one year, and then you have to buy the app. Although, they just keep increasing the free time, by one year, so I haven't had to pay till now. Still, there are few apps like Telegram, Line, Hike, which are free, but not many people get around to use them. And ultimately, you have to use what your friends are using. It's also a problem if you decide to install multiple messenger apps on your phone, since these apps require to be always running and using memory, which is obvious since they have to check for new messages in short intervals. I will try to make people aware of Telegram, and see if my friends start to take to it :p.
Thanks Anupam! It is indeed very hard to make people switch from one app to another. I think Telegram's main advantage is its open source nature and I really like that. Trying to convince my friends to install it was not an easy task, so I recommended to install it as a secondary app instead of a replacement; then I showed them the way the "secret chat" works. It raised some brows among my friends and convinced them to install it (well, to most of them). I found something weird about Telegram, though: it does not seem to rely on a background process (!?). It appears to receive and send messages the same way the standard SMS works. I installed it on a pair of phones (one running Android 4.2.2 and the other 2.3.6) but I couldn't find a background process that could be linked to Telegram. I'm constantly checking my phone's RAM usage levels and it hasn't changed after Telegram was installed, which is great if you want to try it out but you have some concerns regarding your RAM usage. I'd appreciate if you could install it to confirm if my statements about the background process (well, the lack of it) are true. Regards!
OK, I installed Telegram, and I did indeed find the background process with two apps that I use.. Clean Master, and ES Task Manager. The app occupies a little more than 13 MB, as you mention the article. It's a little heavy for my phone I guess, which has WhatsApp and Kik installed, both of which I need. And the RAM of my phone is always overloaded with other processes running in background. I sorta hate Android for that. I don't understand the Android policy of apps running all the time even when I want them not to, or when I closed them. And the RAM cleanup is really worse atleast in Gingerbread... don't know about other newer versions. Well, let's see. Telegram looks fine so far. Don't think it will remain installed on my phone for long though... none of my friends are using it, as far as I see from the contact list.
Thanks for reporting back, Anupam. So, you saw processes for CleanMaster and WhatsApp but, did you find any background process that can be linked to Telegram? Have you noticed any change in your RAM levels before and after installing it? Installing apps like Telegram is a matter of choice and preferences, but it is sad that so many people don't know about it or don't want to install it because not everyone is using it. I see Telegram has been downloaded between 5 to 10 million times; the question, however, is how many people decide to keep it installed... :S
I was talking about the background process for Telegram itself :D. I saw the background process for Telegram on CleanMaster and ES Task Manager. These both apps show the processes that are running on the phone. Is that what you meant, right? Yes, I know what you mean, experiencing it myself. I would use Telegram, if other people in my friend list were using it. Otherwise, it just becomes an app on my phone using up precious RAM. Well, RAM on my phone almost always hangs around 85%-89%, and it's still hanging around that, so I don't know yet. Will keep it installed for a few days, let's see. The problem is that even if a few of my friends start using Telegram, not all will use, with WhatsApp being so hugely popular that people won't give it up. So, Telegram would be just another messaging app taking up memory.. a reason for which I don't think it will last long on my phone. With 512 MB of RAM and above 85% already taken all the time, memory is precious :D.
My mistake, Anupam. I misread your post. You are correct about people don't giving up on a determined app. Well, at least there are options in case they want to switch apps. I believe Telegram is also a very interesting option for those who want to try this kind of apps for the first time, but as Jojo Yee pointed out on his comment above, there are many more apps to choose from. I understand your concern, Anupam. Keeping the RAM levels within usable ranges is a hard task as a low free RAM limits the quantity of apps (and services) you can run.
No problem :). Yes, there are options in terms of messenger apps, but again, options can sometimes be a problem, like in this case. Obviously, people won't go with multiple apps, so they choose whatever is popular, or what their friends have. And memory and space can also be a problem, like with my phone. I believe the younger generation does like to use multiple messengers, if the resources on their phone permits. I think Telegram will attain popularity slowly, as the app is open source, and also the focus is on privacy, which is quite a concern these days. But yes, it will be sometime before it reaches the usage of WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, etc. I have been keeping Telegram on my phone, and I haven't experienced any hangups or slowdown. That's a good thing. Sadly though, none of my friends are using it. Oh, and also, Telegram's interface is somewhat similar to WhatsApp. That's a bit of a disappointment. Disadvantage for them too, because if an app looks like a popular one, people will prefer the original. Let's see what becomes of Telegram.
Yea, I too like that it's open source. I will install Telegram and check it out. I have Gingerbread on my phone.