With the COVID-19 pandemic and the many varieties of lockdown measures, messaging apps have added their own group video calls. Telegram is late to the party compared to its competitors, but the messaging platform is finally getting the feature.
According to its announcement post, group video calls on Telegram won’t be a standalone feature on its own. Instead, users get the option to switch on the video feature in group voice calls. This means individual users get to decide if they want their mug shown. Which can be great if it gives you time to wash up while the call is still ongoing.
You can also tap on any video feed during a group video call to make it go full screen. There’s also the option to pin a video so that it stays on top all the time. This feature gets more options on tablets and desktop, thanks to the larger display. For one, voice chats open in a separate window.
That being said, there’s a catch to this. While group voice calls can take an unlimited number of participants, turning video on, cuts the number down to 30. Though it’s not specified what will happen if a large group of over 30 turns to video mid-call. Telegram says that this limit will be increased as voice chats “take on streaming games, live events and more”.
On that front, the company is also allowing screen sharing in addition to sharing your camera feed. Desktop users will also get selective screen sharing, as you’d expect from streaming software. Screen share feeds will also get automatically pinned.
Previously, Telegram CEO Pavel Durov said that the feature would go live in May. The company is a month behind schedule, but ultimately it’s probably better late than never.