Instant messaging is a common thing in the current communication landscape. Also, real-time messaging is one of the simplest ways to connect with our friends or coworkers. WhatsApp and Telegram are considered as the major apps in instant messaging apps. They both are constantly working on updates to improve the user experience.
Currently, there are so many messaging apps and services are available. But this field becomes a bit narrow if privacy and security are your main concerns. Using SMS and email as a means of communication is not a very secure option. Both are easily disrupted. And it is passing through mediators, so there is a scope for intrusion into privacy.
WhatsApp and Telegram are major rivals in instant messaging apps industry. Both apps have strengths and weaknesses, but there is one common thing. That is encryption. That means that the messages you send are being scrambled so that they cannot be read even if someone intercepts them. Let us discuss more about these two messaging tools.
WhatsApp Messenger is a freeware application for messaging and Voice over IP service. WhatsApp is founded by Brian Acton and Jan Koum in 2009. Currently, it is owned by Facebook, Inc. It enables users to make voice and video calls, send voice messages and text messages, share documents, images, user locations, and other media. We can access the application from mobile devices and desktop computers.
The application allows you to communicate with anyone in your contact list, who uses WhatsApp. The users need to provide a standard cellular mobile number for registering and using the service. WhatsApp launched a business app named WhatsApp Business in January 2018. It enables companies to communicate with consumers who utilize the standard WhatsApp client.
- The interface is very fast, simple, and easy to use. The application can be easily used by people of all ages without any external help.
- By 2015, it had become the most popular messaging app in the world. WhatsApp has 2 billion users worldwide as of 2020.
- The application is not only for sending text messages. Users are also able to make video and audio calls through WhatsApp.
- It enables us to listen to an audio message without earphones in public areas. If you bring the phone close to your ear when the audio message is being played, the audio volume will decrease and you can listen to it as on a call.
- All your conversations on WhatsApp are end-to-end encrypted. So, your messages are safe and cannot be read or accessed by anyone except you and the person with whom you communicate. Even WhatsApp can't see your chats.
- WhatsApp is free of cost. We are able to use WhatsApp without spending a single penny.
- We can keep important messages by starring them. It enables us to find those messages under a specific category. Also, it becomes more easily discoverable.
- WhatsApp supports stories. So we are able to share what's happening in the last 24 hours with contacts on WhatsApp.
- iOS users can use WhatsApp hands-free with the help of Siri. Siri can read and send messages. Also, it can make calls.
- It has a delivery status feature. Users can confirm that their message has been sent to the desired contact and ensure whether they have read it or not.
- We are not able to send documents larger than 100 MB and video files that are more than 16 MB through WhatsApp.
- The stickers are available on WhatsApp. But, WhatsApp doesn't have animated stickers that are available on Facebook messenger.
- If you don't have a cell phone number of a person, you are not able to connect with that person through WhatsApp. We can’t find people by searching their username.
- There is no logout option to sign out from our account in WhatsApp. That isn't good for our privacy.
- If we don't opt out of the settings, WhatsApp will share our messaging meta data with Facebook. Profiles will be easily linked if you use the same phone number for Facebook and WhatsApp.
- It is not easy to migrate our chat history from Android to iOS. In some times, this may require a third-party application.
- There is no cloud sync in WhatsApp. The messages will not be stored on WhatsApp server, because of security and privacy reasons.
- The number of members who can join in a single group is limited to 256 people.
Telegram is a software for instant messaging, voice over IP, and video telephony service. Telegram client apps are available for GNU/Linux, Windows, Android, iOS, and macOS. It is developed by Telegram FZ LLC in 2013. The application allows users to send messages and exchange videos, audios, photos, stickers, and different types of files. The client-side code of Telegram is a free software. But, the server-side code is a closed-source. Also, it offers APIs to independent developers. Telegram had reached 400 million active users on April 2020.
- It allows us to share large files of size up to 2 GB. It includes images, videos, documents, gifs, executable files and geo location.
- The app has self-destructing timers for chats. It has the ability to permanently delete messages of theirs and yours, from the device.
- The user interface of Telegram is customizable with so many clean looking options
- We are able to create groups of up to 200,000 people.
- The users are able to set an extra password for our account. We can reset it through our email. Also, there is no need to use an email if you aren't interested.
- We can save our time with link previews and inline bots. The users are able to look things up without leaving the chat that they are in, with the help of inline bots such as @pic/bing, @gif, @vid/YouTube, etc.
- There is a built-in setting to scale the UI of the app up to 200% in the desktop app. It enables users with 4k screens to utilize the app without scaling problems.
- Limitless number of files can be stored permanently in the cloud, when using telegram.
- Telegram has an open source MTProto encryption protocol. It gives end-to-end encryption for secret chats.
- You are able to write messages to yourself. You can add links, and write notes.
- The users are able to pin messages to the top of groups. All members can see that when opening the group.
- We can find peoples by searching their username.
- Telegram allows the users to edit or delete messages at any time.
- The users are able to upload a video to their profile and select a frame for the profile picture in chats.
- 100% of privacy cannot be assessed, because the backend software is not open-source.
- We require a phone number to create an account. We are not able to activate and use the telegram by using mail.
- We need to use secret chat function to get end-to-end encryption. Secret chat only works on mobile applications, which means there is no way to encrypt messages end to end when using web browser client or desktop client.
- It is difficult to share code snippets through telegram, because the source code syntax highlighting is not available in it.
- Spherical 360° photos don't work in telegram. Because, it doesn't support that format.
- Telegram doesn’t have group video call feature.
In short, WhatsApp has more user base, group video calls, and ubiquitous end-to-end encryption. But it lags behind with features like cloud storage, limited file sharing. On other hand, telegram has various bots, platform compatibility, file sharing and privacy. But, it is far behind in group video call support and their user base is small. So you need to pick depending on your choices.