In 2013, it became known that Pavel Durov was releasing a new product – the Telegram messenger. According to him, the development began in 2011, and it was caused by increased pressure from the FSB. There was a need for a tool protected from eavesdropping and data leaks, in particular, for communicating with his brother Nikolai.
In October 2013, Telegram appeared on the App Store. In just a few weeks after the launch, the audience reached over 100,000 people. This was facilitated by the slogan of the creators, under which the messenger was promoted: “Taking back our right to privacy” . The ideas of protecting users’ personal data and their right to privacy of correspondence have become the leitmotif of Telegram.
It worked – in 2014, the messenger was recognized as the most actively developing European startup, and by the beginning of 2016 Telegram already had over 100 million users. At the end of March 2018, over 200 million active users were recorded, and the daily increase is almost 600 thousand people.
» TeleGuide recommends:read the message from the Telegram team dedicated to reaching the historic milestone of 200 million users.
The ideas promoted by Pavel Durov and the Telegram team turned out to be close to a huge number of people around the world. But the messenger earned its popularity not only for its ideology, but also for its excellent technical performance.
What can you do in Telegram?
To fully understand what Telegram is, and why it is better than other messengers, you can only know the main features of the application, which have no analogues . In particular, we are talking about channels, chats and bots.
In September 2015, channels appeared on Telegram. In fact, these are group chats that work “in one direction” – only the administrator can write messages there.
During their existence, the channels have come a long way from the dubious “blogs” of home-grown hackers and darknetters to full-fledged media. There are channels in Telegram for everyone, no matter what topic you are fond of – there are thousands of them!
»TeleGuide recommends: Read more about the popularity of different categories of channels in our analytical material on the trends of the Telegram community .
By the way, the list of your communities is closed from contacts, as well as the list of used bots.
The presence of channels, chats and bots allows Telegram to go beyond the classic means of correspondence. Here are just a few of our materials that reveal the features of the unique goodies of the application:
- How to listen to music in Telegram: top 3 ways : about creating playlists available offline and music bots;
- Telegram as a cloud storage: instructions : on using the messenger to store your data;
- Non-classical ways of using Telegram: GIF-animations : everything about gifs – how to find, share and create with your own hand;
- 8 main Telegram chat bots : about a variety of bots available right in the dialog box;
- How to customize Telegram for yourself : detailed material about the secrets of Telegram personalization.
Why is Telegram so popular?
7 main reasons for the success of Telegram:
- MTProto algorithm. Provides security, making it impossible to hack correspondence.
- Distributed server system. The data stored in data centers is protected, and even physical access to hard drives will not give anything to cybercriminals. We will talk about this system, the MTProto algorithm and security in general below.
- Secret chats. Correspondence is conducted only between two interlocutors, encryption keys are stored on users’ devices. Even the Telegram team cannot access such correspondence.
- Ease of use. To register and start using the application, you need to spend no more than two or three minutes.
- Channels, chats, bots, stickers (the latter, by the way, can be easily done by yourself ) . A whole infrastructure with which you can get the necessary knowledge, earn money or just have fun.
- Cloud storage . It can be used not only in conversations with other people, but also as a personal data store. You can send files to “Saved Messages”, after which you will have access to them from any device.
- Perspectives. Telegram does not stop its development, and the proof of this is the TON project, in which $ 1.7 billion has already been invested . It is planned to create a platform with its own cryptocurrency Gram and numerous services , including payment systems, distributed file storage, proxies and anonymizers, etc.
How to start using Telegram
Telegram can be installed on the phone by downloading the application from the App Store or Google Play, there is a version of the application for a PC, and there is also a web version of the messenger, which you need to use right in the browser.
When using the web version, carefully check the address bar of your browser, do not fall for the tricks of phishing sites. Just add the site to your bookmarks and go through them.
»TeleGuide recommends: not registered in the messenger yet? Read our step-by-step algorithm for registering in Telegram from different devices.
First steps in the messenger after registration
After successful registration, you are taken to the main application window. If you registered in the application for smartphones, then Telegram automatically loads your contact list from the phone book. In this case, only those users are taken for whom Telegram is already installed.
There are two ways to add a person who is not in your phone book:
- If you know his phone number. In this case, you will need to indicate his name and add a phone number. To do this, go to “Contacts” and click on “Add contact” or on the “+” in the upper right corner if you have Telegram for Android.
- If there is no number, but you know the username. You can add to each other in contacts via username. To do this, you just need to enter it into the search bar. Be careful: username is always written with an “@” sign in front of the word.
» Advice from TeleGuide : Username in Telegram allows you not to” shine “your phone number. Set a username so that people you haven’t added to your contacts will see it instead of your number . Go to “Settings”, find the item “Username” (he is one of the first) and write yourself a username!
How Telegram works: one of the key reasons for success
One of the main reasons for the popularity of the app is privacy .
The very privacy appreciated by Telegram users is provided by the MTProto encryption algorithm. It was developed by Nikolai Durov. This technology allows you to reliably protect both regular chats and secret ones. During its existence, there has not been a single successful attempt to intercept and decrypt Telegram traffic.
After the launch of the project, Pavel Durov announced a competition to identify the vulnerabilities of the messenger. Participants were required to access Paul’s correspondence with his brother. The prize money was $ 200,000.
The competition was announced several times, but for all the time only one user from Habr found a potentially weak spot in the MTProto algorithm. Despite this, he did not receive access to the correspondence. The Telegram management considered it fair to pay half of the reward – $ 100 thousand.
Distributed server system
There are critics who point out that the way MTProto works does not provide sufficient security, since the data of regular chats is still stored in Telegram data centers . But what they overlook is that the data centers are distributed: they are located in 5 different locations in the world .
There is no exact information about the location of the servers. Most likely, they are located in Amsterdam, London, Singapore, Miami and San Francisco.
The system switches the user between data centers, so the data of a particular person can be stored on several at once. And most importantly, all information is encrypted.
Each server cluster, in turn, is encrypted with a key located on a server in a different country. Therefore, even physical access to the disks will not give any result, since it will be impossible to decrypt the information on it.
If you think this is not enough, use secret chats. They are protected even more reliably: the key for decrypting correspondence exists only on users’ devices, and information is not stored on Telegram servers.