Telegram recently announced that they are close to reach the 500 million active users mark. To keep the service of this scale operational, they have announced plans of monetization through the co-founder Pavel Durov’s public channel on Telegram.
Surov stated a two-fold plan on monetizing the service starting from 2021. The first part will have premium features for business or power users. Other existing features will continue to remain free, the service will bring a few new features that are aimed to fulfill the needs of the more demanding user base. The second part will have ads in the public channels. They will be like massive open group chats run by an individual or group of people and will allow anyone to join in. Over the years, the popularity of these groups has gone high with users treating them as modern day forums or an alternative to services like Discord.
Telegram will show ads in these groups with the use of their own ad network, that will also get rid of any ads that the group owners might be placing manually at present by sending them as posts. The ads will be integrated within the app and have an improved interface rather than masquerading as posts. In terms of one on one and private group chats, they will remain free of ads.
Durov assured users in his post that Telegram will remain an independent company. The steps they will undertake under monetization will help to keep the company afloat and also avoid having to sell it to make money. Durov also stated WhatsApp as an example of how things can go bad if platform owners prioritize profits in instead of user privacy.
Telegram also released a major update on mobile platforms which adds voice chat support in groups. Voice chats are like an open voice channel where people can go in and out of according to their choice and those who are in can continue talking or listening to others. Users can continue to use the rest of the app when the voice chat is open in the background. On Android, a floating widget will be seen on the screen when a voice chat is active and users will be able to minimize that to a chat bubble. The feature will be available on Telegram desktop client on Windows and macOS.
The update includes other enhancements like faster loading stickers that show and outline before they finish loading, SD card storage on Android for moving their Telegram files from internal storage to external storage, new app animations on Android, ability to announce the messages with the use of Siri on iOS, ability to edit photos on Android after they have been sent and at last, more animated emoji. The app update is now live on mobile platforms. Detailed information on the monetization aspect will be unveiled in the future.