Telegram announced new features related to channels including better discovery of similar channels, emoji customization for reactions and stats for stories to compete better with WhatsApp. The Meta-owned platform rolled out its broadcast channels feature globally in September.
When a user joins a new Telegram channel, the app will now suggest similar channels they can join to better surface various channels.
In August, the app rolled out stories to all users. With the latest update, it will also allow users and channels to repost their stories on their own pages. You can add text, images or video commentary to stories while reposting.
Channels can also add custom emojis based on the level they have. Premium users can boost any channel of their choosing — they get one boost with their subscription. Based on the number of boosts, channels are assigned a level to unlock features such as the ability to post stories. It’s a slightly complicated and gamified process.
For channels that already have the stories feature enabled, Telegram will now let them see stats for different stories including numbers of views, reactions and shares along with a timeline of activity.
Last month, Telegram also introduced a giveaway feature where channels can host giveaways for Telegram Premium and other gifts to welcome new followers or bolster their following.
Apart from channel-related features, Telegram is extending its voice-to-text feature for audio messages to free users with a cap of two transcriptions per week. Plus, the new update has features such as a better highlighting block for code in messages, a two-sided wallpaper for premium users that will be visible to both parties in a chat, and an improved topics view in groups.
Telegram has had channel features for a long time now, but the app is now forced to innovate because of WhatsApp’s rollout of a similar feature. Last month, Mark Zuckerberg said on his broadcast channel on WhatsApp that the channels feature had crossed the mark of 500 million monthly active users. For context, WhatsApp has more than 2 billion monthly active users and Telegram has over 800 million monthly active users.