Secure messaging app Telegram is finally getting phone call capabilities, much like other similar tools available out there. There’s one difference, though – Telegram says even its voice conversations are covered by the same end-to-end encryption protection offered to texts.
“Telegram Calls are built upon the time-tested end-to-end encryption of Telegram’s Secret Chats. The key verification UI we came up with in 2013 to protect against man-in-the-middle attacks served well for Telegram (and for other apps that adopted it), but for Calls we needed something easier,” the company said in the announcement.
So, what did they do? They introduced a new verification process involving emojis. To make sure calls are 100% secure, the caller and the recipient need to compare four emojis over the phone, without any lengthy codes or complicated pictures.
With this move, Telegram is just the latest messaging app to get call capabilities. Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber and many others already have this feature. They’re a little bit late to this party, but that’s probably because they promise complete security of conversations.
Fast, safe and smart
Folks over at Telegram are proud with the new feature, saying that it’s quite fast. “Whenever possible, your calls will go over a peer-to-peer connection, using the best audio codecs to save traffic while providing crystal-clear quality,” Telegram says. If a P2P connection can’t be established, Telegram uses the closest server to the user to speed up the connection.
In order to improve the feature, Telegram will use a neural network to learn from your device. While the contents of the conversation will obviously not be available, the technical information such as network speed, ping times, and so on, will be visible. In the end, the machine optimizes dozens of parameters based on this input in order to improve the quality of future calls on the given device and network.
“These parameters can also be adjusted during a conversation if there’s a change in your connection. Telegram will adapt and provide excellent sound quality on stable WiFi – or use less data when you walk into a refrigerator with bad reception,” Telegram’s post reads.
The app features the ability to control who can call you. The privacy setting allows you to completely shut down the call feature, or allow your contacts to call you or “everyone.”