Way before WhatsApp Web came onto the market, Telegram already offered a desktop version of its security-focused messaging app. It may be light on features compared to the likes of Skype, but it's still years ahead of WhatsApp, which is still yet to release a desktop client (as its founders like to point out).
Send Telegrams from any device
To start using Telegram for Desktop you must already have signed up for an account on the Android, iOS, or Windows Phone app. Once you've verified your details via a mobile app you're ready to start chatting.
The app allows you to easily message your mobile contacts, send an unlimited number of audio and video files (in batches if you chose), as well as insert emoticons and stickers of famous world leaders including Gandhi. Telegram for Desktop also integrates well with other social networking services (such as YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter), showing previews of any content you have shared in the app, as well as making any Instagram or Twitter mentions in these previews clickable. However, voice and video calling is currently not available.
While your phone contacts are automatically synced to the desktop version, you can also search for additional people via their usernames. Notification settings can also be edited for each individual contact - so you can effectively mute friends if they're sending you too many messages!
One of the strengths of Telegram is its group chat feature. Unlike other messaging apps, Telegram can have more than one administrator. Administrators can change the photo and name of the group, as well as add or delete members. The service also allows you to create groups of up to 1,000 people!
Prioritizing speed and security
Security has always been Telegram's major point of differentiation and this is no different with the desktop version. The messages are encrypted in the cloud, but there is no secret chat (self-destructing, not stored on the company's servers, and can't be forwarded) option for the desktop version. In terms of security for accessing the desktop client, Telegram for Desktop includes two-factor authentication, so you can set up an additional step to stop unauthorized logins. From the program, you can also review all the places/devices where you are logged in and stop individual sessions.
With WhatsApp having been acquired by Facebook, there are fears about what will happen to users' data, which is where Telegram hopes to gain ground with its promise never to sell user data.
Speed is another major plus point for Telegram. Sending a batch of ten photos happened immediately, while audio and video is also very quick to upload and send.
While the desktop version may be lacking features of its mobile sisters (secret chats, voice messaging, and group chats), it's still a nifty messaging service. Messages sync seamlessly across devices and once you've seen a message on one device, it's marked as read on the other, meaning you don't have to deal with multiple notifications.
WhatsApp you say?
Telegram is a credible alternative to WhatsApp, especially given that the latter doesn't yet have a desktop client. With privacy and security being key for today's users, Telegram has built a solid place for itself in the market. The desktop client isn't as fully featured as Viber and Skype, but if it's speed and security you're after, this is the app for you.