A substantial new version of Telegram is rolling out now for all platforms. The update includes new shopping features for buyers and sellers, updated voice chat tools for groups, new gesture controls on mobile, and more.
There’s a lot to cover, but before we get to the big features updates, we should first talk about Telegram’s new web clients.
Yes, you read that right: web clients. Two, in fact—Telegram Web K and Web Z. Both versions are standalone Telegram web apps that work on mobile and desktop, and they take up less than 400MB on your device. Unlike web clients from other chat apps, Telegram Web K and Z lets you stay signed in without needing to keep your phone synced up and nearby.
In our quick hands-on, the two web app versions only really differ in their visuals: Version K has a slightly wider chat screen, its menus are a smidge more compact, and its icons have a more 3D “buttony” design; while Version Z’s icons are flatter and its color palette is more desaturated in comparison. The timestamp formats are also different in some cases: Version Z displays older messages as “Nov 30 2020,” while version K’s follow the “11/30/2020” format.
Otherwise, the apps are identical. Their UI/navigations are the same and they support the same features. Either version lets you play with Telegram’s “animated stickers, dark mode, chat folders,” and the new in-app payment options (more on that in a minute).
Telegram’s new web apps are available now: Web K or Web Z, pick your poison.
First, Telegram’s in-app money transfer tools have been overhauled to be more useful for companies that sell wares through Telegram. Telegram calls this update “Payments 2.0.”
The app now supports eight more third-party payment options: Stripe, Payme, Click, Yandex.Money, LiqPay, Ecommpay, Sberbank, and Tranzzo. (The app also supports Google Pay and Apple Pay.)
The new payment tools can be used in any chat, and there’s a new tipping option during checkout so buyers can add extra gratuity to their orders.
Telegram does not collect commissions on in-app transactions, nor does it process payments itself. It instead relies on different payment providers around the world to handle and store your sensitive information. Neither Telegram nor the bot’s developers can access payment information.
The new payment 2.0 options are available in Telegram version 7.7 on mobile, version 2.7.2 for desktop, and in the newly launched web clients. The company has launched a demo channel in which you can try out the new features on imaginary products you won’t actually pay for. Merchants who want to sell their goods on Telegram should visit the Bot Payments support page to get started.
Telegram also recently launched its own version of Clubhouse-like audio chats. The feature lets Telegram group admins host live chats that all group members can listen to.
Initially, voice chats could only be started manually, but as of version 7.7 on iOS and Android, admins can now set up voice chats to begin at a specific date and time, which should make planning and advertising these live conversations easier.
Here’s how to schedule a voice chat in Telegram:
- Open your Group or Channel’s page.
- Tap “Voice Chat.”
- Select “Schedule Voice Chat.”
- Use the dials to set the voice chat’s air time, then press “Schedule voice chat” to save your selection.
- Go to your or Channel or Group’s page.
- Tap the three-dot menu button.
- Select “Start Voice chat” then “Schedule Voice Chat.”
- Use the menu to select the date and time for the chat to begin.
- Tap “Schedule voice chat” to save.
Large countdown timers for any upcoming voice chats are displayed at the top of a group page or channel. Group members can tap the timer then toggle “set reminder” to be notified when the broadcast goes live.
Telegram version 7.7 also includes a handful of smaller upgrades for Android and iOS users, including:
- Voice chat profile controls: Mobile users can now tap another user to view their profile image and bio during a voice chat. You can also tap your own profile to edit your information without leaving a voice chat.
- Pinch to zoom images: You can now zoom in on photos while in chat view by “pinching” out with your fingers, rather than opening an image in media view.
- Video player time-shifting: While watching a video, double-tap the left side of the screen to rewind 10 seconds, or double-tap the right side to fast-forward 10 seconds (you can also tap and hold to perform the time skip).
- New animations on Android: Android users will notice new, smoother interface animations while using the app.
Telegram version 7.7 is available now on the Apple App Store for iOS, while the Android version will be live on Google Play in the coming days—Telegram says the Android update has been slightly delayed due to issues on Google’s end. However, if you don’t want to wait, Android users can download version 7.7 directly from Telegram’s website and sideload it onto their devices instead.