Sneaky

Finweek English Edition - - TECHNOLOGY -

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Also con­sider: hat­sApp may be the talk of the town but it has its short­com­ings. For one, the in­stant mes­sages that are ex­changed us­ing the ser­vice are not be­yond the pry­ing eyes of the NSA and other en­ti­ties seek­ing your per­sonal data. It’s also now owned by Face­book – which doesn’t have the most im­pec­ca­ble of records when it comes to the pri­vacy of per­sonal in­for­ma­tion. A new mes­sen­ger app aims to be ev­ery­thing What­sApp is not, but is a clone i n ever y other way. Meet Tele­gram.

The brain­child of Rus­sian In­ter­net mogul Pavel Durov, Tele­gram claims to be faster and more se­cure than What­sApp and is avail­able for iOS and An­droid, with other plat­forms com­ing soon.

When you f irst run Tele­gram on your phone it will re­quest your mo­bile num­ber and then send you a val­i­da­tion code – this process will be very fa­mil­iar to What­sApp users.

In fact, most of Tele­gram is fa­mil­iar ter­ri­tory. The way you change your photo, f ind friends, start chats and send mes­sages – even the no­tif ica­tion that mes­sages have been sent and de­liv­ered – looks al­most iden­ti­cal to What­sApp.

Un­der the hood, how­ever, Tele­gram is a dif­fer­ent story. For one, it uses end-to-end en­cryp­tion so that none of your con­ver­sa­tions can be in­ter­cepted. In this way it is more sim­i­lar to BBM than What­sApp. The cre­ators of Tele­gram are as­tutely mar­ket­ing this fea­ture in a world where we now have a height­ened para­noia over govern­ment mon­i­tor­ing and t he like .

Tele­gram also seems to deliver on its claims of be­ing

faster and more re­li­able than other ser­vices like it. It isn’t clear ex­actly how this is achieved, but in our anec­do­tal ex­pe­ri­ence mes­sages were de­liv­ered at light­ning speed.

It is also beau­ti­fully de­signed and de­liv­ers a na­tive ex­pe­ri­ence on iOS and An­droid, mak­ing the app light­weight and re­spon­sive.

An­other fea­ture that sep­a­rates Tele­gram from What­sApp is the abil­ity to start se­cret chats that aren’t recorded and won’t leave any ev­i­dence be­hind for your busi­ness col­leagues, the au­thor­i­ties, or your spouse to find. Hey, we don’t judge.

Tele­gram founder Durov also claims that he will never al­low ad­ver­tis­ing to be sold in the app and has no plans to charge for it ei­ther. He says that he has enough money al­ready and just wants to deliver a bet­ter mes­sag­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal.

Thing is, I’ve just counted seven mes­sag­ing apps on my phone and I’m not sure I need yet an­other one. For­tu­nately for Tele­gram, it is one of the best we’ve seen and more likely to sur­vive my next clean-up. The chal­lenge now will be to win over as many new users as pos­si­ble, which seems to be hap­pen­ing thanks to What­sApp users f lee­ing the Face­book uni­verse. In fact, Tele­gram had to in­stall new in­fra­struc­ture last week to deal with the load.

Pavel Durov

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