Fast growing instant messaging app, Telegram has upgraded its payment and voice chat features in its latest update.
This update also brings new Telegram apps for browser, pinch to zoom, improved video player and more.
The new additions bring the best of both WhatsApp‘s payment feature and Clubhouse voice chat offering to its over 500 million active users.
Better Payment Features for Merchants
While the new Payment 2.0 isn’t the platforms first payment system, it brings new features that make shopping on the platform easier for both buyers and seller.
First, merchants can now create and send invoices using the bot or inline method. This invoice can then be paid directly in the app using credit card payment in any chat, group and channel. It also supports Apple Pay and Google Pay.
Telegram’s first payment system was implemented back in 2017.
However, Telegram does not process the payment personally as it relies on third-party payment providers like Stripe, YooMoney, Sberbank, Tranzzo, Payme, CLICK, LiqPay, and ECOMMPAY.
To use the feature, you need to use ‘
/mybots‘ command in the chat with BotFather to create a Merchant bot that offers goods and services to Telegram user. Then, Go to Bot Settings > Payments to choose a provider.
After that, you can easily create invoices that can be forwarded and used by multiple buyers to order things. If a user clicks on the invoice, the bot requests specific shipping information.
Once the transaction is done, the merchant bot can send a receipt message with payment details, shipping and delivery information.
The latest feature comes just weeks After WhatsApp in App payment feature was accepted in Brazil.
Telegram says it will take no commission from its users and also promises to add more payment providers in future.
There’s currently a demo channel for users to test how the payment feature works without spending a penny. The feature is currently available in more than 200 countries
New voice chats features
The biggest addition to the platform’s voice chat feature is the new schedule feature. It allows Admins of groups and channels to now schedule a Voice Chat for a particular date and time instead of creating one right away.
This gives channel members time to let their friends know and get ready for a broadcast. It also comes with a colourful countdown timer at the top of the chat.
To use the schedule feature simply select Start Voice chat then Schedule Voice Chat on Andriod while on iOS, you have to tap the Voice Chat button and select Schedule Voice Chat.
Telegram is one of the world’s top 10 most downloaded apps with over 500 million active users.
The other addition is the Mini profiles for voice chats. This feature allows you to get a better idea of who you’re chatting with – without leaving the voice chat window. It includes expanded profile pictures and bios.
This is especially helpful when trying to find someone in a crowded voice conference. To create your own mini profile simply tap on the pic icon in the Voice chat window then select the edit bio button.
New Web Apps
Asides from adding new features to its mobile app, Telegram has unveiled two new fully-featured Telegram web apps (Telegram web K and web Z) – both supporting animated stickers, dark mode, chat folders, and more.
With the new web versions, you can get instant access to your chats on any device – desktop or mobile. The web versions are standalone. This means that, unlike WhatsApp, you do not need to keep your phone nearby or connected to the internet when logged in.
The two new web apps don’t actually replace the current main website though, which means there are now three web versions to choose from.
The difference between the three is that the K and Z versions are designed to be simpler so they don’t have as many features as the original but they do look a bit more modern.
Telegram’s new features are important additions as the company hopes to take on competitors, clubhouse and WhatsApp.
The voice chat option available as a feature on Telegram is now very similar to Clubhouse’s voice chat rooms. Similarly, the payment feature is a huge leap in overtaking Whatsapp Pays reach.
Another major highlight is the new web versions which have an upgrade that has long been sort after in the WhatsApp web version.
Other mentions in the update announcement include few improvements on the mobile apps. You can now pinch to zoom images and videos. Then there is the fast-forward or rewind video by double-tapping on the side of the screen on Android and pressing and holding the +/- 15s button on iOS.
Finally, due to the delay in verification on Playstore by Google, Telegram is saying that the Android app can now be downloaded directly from its website to get the latest version faster.