Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Why Telegram is better than WhatsApp

Messaging apps are some of the most popular among smartphone users. Three of the top five free apps in the Play Store are messaging apps, and there are many more as well. When it comes to sheer user base, none can boast a higher number of users than WhatsApp. As of August 2014, WhatsApp reports a total of 600 million active monthly users. WeChat is second by a huge 132 million user margin. But as in other markets, just because something is the most popular, doesn't mean it's the best. WhatsApp will always benefit from being one of the earliest cross-platform messaging apps in the market. They've had years to build up their massive user base, and as long as they have that, competing apps will find it difficult to get a foothold in the market. The problem newer messaging apps face is that not many people will use a service if none of their friends and family are. What good is a messaging app if you don't have anybody to send messages to? Telegram is very young compared to WhatsApp. It was launched just over a year ago. But even so, it's clear to me that Telegram is much better than WhatsApp. Here's why.

Material Design - fast app updates
Telegram has already been updated to follow Google's latest Material Design guidelines, while WhatsApp is still stuck on the previous Holo UI. In fact, it took WhatsApp a very long time (a couple of years?) to leave behind the old Gingerbread UI, so I won't expect the app to get a Material Design makeover any time soon. But this point isn't just about updating the UI, it's about the speed of updates in general. The fact that an app as "small" as Telegram already has Material Design, while the most popular messaging app in the world (which is also owned by the largest social network in the world) doesn't, speaks volumes of how poor WhatsApp is at updates. In fact, WhatsApp doesn't even obey Lollipop's Priority Mode setting, a glaring bug that still isn't fixed. I'm not being harsh when I say that WhatsApp's development team is absolute rubbish. Telegram despite their short time in the market have already shown that they are better with regards to updates.

Main interface.

Menu from main interface.

Contacts.

Settings.

Cloud-based - multi-device support
One of the largest flaws of WhatsApp is that it's a local client, and not cloud-based, like Telegram is. The reason why this is a problem is because we now live in a world where many people use more than one device in their daily routines. According to Google, 90% of people who are connected to the internet use more than one device to connect. So if you use WhatsApp, you are forced to use it on one smartphone, that's it. But with a cloud-based messaging service like Telegram, you can use multiple devices to chat with your contacts. Falling back to my previous point about updates, WhatsApp has been around for 5 years and multi-device support still isn't available. Telegram is just a year old and has multi-device support. Smartphones, tablets, laptops, PCs, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, web-client, Windows, Mac, Linux. Apart from Blackberry (which people shouldn't be using any more anyway), Telegram is on every major platform, on every type of device.

WhatsApp can only be used on one smartphone/account. Telegram has no such limitation.

Cloud storage for media
Another disadvantage WhatsApp has being a local client is that all media you receive from chats will be stored on your device, as opposed to in the cloud like with Telegram. So over a long period of time, your phone's storage will fill up with images and videos that you have received. The only way to get back some of your storage would be to delete that media, but that becomes a problem if you actually want to keep some of it. With Telegram, you can keep as much media as you like, since it's all stored in Telegram's cloud. And you don't have to worry about security, as Telegram is known to be one of the more secure messaging clients in the market. More secure than WhatsApp for sure.

You can connect with others without sharing phone numbers
Telegram is linked to your phone number, similar to WhatsApp. But unlike WhatsApp, your phone number is not the only way to connect with others. When using Telegram, you can search for other users by their username. So if you want to connect with colleagues, you can do so without giving them your phone number. Another point towards Telegram's claim of placing user security first.

File sharing
Telegram lets you share files. WhatsApp does not. So if you need to share a file real quick, you can do so without having to go through e-mail.

WhatsApp may have 5 years under it's belt, but Telegram is already much better despite only being a year old. Some people say that Telegram is a WhatsApp clone, and that may be true. But WhatsApp dropped the ball. With such a huge user base, and funding from annual subscriptions, in addition to being owned by Facebook, they really have no reason for being behind Telegram in terms of features, which by the way, is 100% free. No subscriptions, no ads. So if you are using WhatsApp, take a look at Telegram. Then get your friends and family members to do so too. I'm sure you won't regret making the change.