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Telegram is stealing the best feature from Clubhouse — here's how

Telegram voice chats 2.0
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Telegram, the privacy-conscious messaging app, has launched a Clubhouse-esque feature called Voice Chats 2.0. The feature lets you run live voice chat sessions with an unlimited number of other participants. 

It builds on Telegram’s existing voice features that are baked into the app's interface: voice chat titles, the ability to record voice chats, the hand-raising feature to ask questions and invitational links. The update follows the rise of voice-exclusive messaging platforms like Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces, as Telegram looks to get in on the action and pinch one of Clubhouse's defining features. 

Voice Chat 2.0 riffs off Clubhouse’s platform where users can jump into ongoing discussions, repurposing it for the various channels and public groups that are the mainstay of Telegram’s platform.

Telegram detailed the updates in a blog post and — let’s say — they’ll be somewhat recognizable to Clubhouse aficionados. Telegram’s channel and public group admins can now voice call unlimited live participants; previously, this feature was exclusive to group chats, but you can now broadcast to many willing (or not so willing) listeners in public groups and channels. Should you miss the initial live voice chat, admins can record the call to share with Telegram’s various groups’ members later on.

Akin to Clubhouse, you don't get much say as a listener: muted by default, participants must use the "raise hands" feature to alert an admin of their interest in speaking during the live voice chats. And if you thought that was erring on the authoritarian side, admins have the authority to choose a listener to speak by viewing their Telegram bio.

Telegram has also enhanced the app for Android users, enabling them to choose what happens when you swipe left in the chat list. This could be pinning, deleting, or signaling a chat has been read. Likewise, iOS users have access to this feature, either by swiping left or right to perform the same actions.

All of this follows the WhatsApp privacy ruckus that led to a surge in users heading to the safe havens of Signal, but that also saw Telegram's number soar, widely perceived as a more privacy-focused app, earning it a place on our best encrypted messaging apps list. 

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Luke Wilson

Luke is a Trainee News Writer at T3 and contributor to Tom's Guide, having graduated from the DMU/Channel 4 Journalism School with an MA in Investigative Journalism. Before switching careers, he worked for Mindshare WW. When not indoors messing around with gadgets, he's a disc golf enthusiast, keen jogger, and fond of all things outdoors.