Telegram rolls out video transcription, collectible usernames and more

Voice-to-text video transcription in Telegram is great for those times when you don’t have the time to watch someone’s video message.

Six screenshots showcasing new Telegram features like speech-to-text for video
Voice/video transcription is restricted to Telegram Premium | Screenshots: Telegram
  • What’s happening? The Messaging app Telegram has launched new features in the latest update while apologizing for the delay, saying it’s because of Apple.
  • Why care? With more than 500 million active users, Telegram is one of the most popular messaging platforms in the world.
  • What to do? If you don’t have the new features yet, update your copy of Telegram for iPhone and iPad [App Store link] to the latest version.

Telegram launches video transcription

Sometimes you’re in a hurry and watching a friend going on and on about something in a video message isn’t the most productive use of your time.

To help with that, Telegram has extended its voice-to-text transcription of audio messages to video. To transcribe a video message, touch the →A button in the video’s lower-right corner. Read: How to use live captions in Google Chrome

This feature is behind a paywall so consider subscribing to Telegram Premium if you have a need for voice-to-text transcription for video messages.

New emoji packs and more

Telegram’s dark theme has been tweaked with more balanced colors and better blurring effects when scrolling. There are twelve new emoji packs and four new interactive emoji that play fullscreen effects (you can use them as reactions, too).

Other nice-to-haves include placeholder chat bubbles that pules when your messages are loading, a new animation for swiping left to reply and more.

Features for free users

The most exciting new features required a Telegram Premium subscription, but even free users are in for a treat. With Topics in Groups, for example, Telegram groups with 200+ members can start a topical side channel. Notifications there are delivered independently from the larger group, as showcased in Telegram’s own public group.

Collectible usernames is another feature available to all Telegram users.

Similar to regular @usernames, collectible usernames (secured by TON) in Telegram can be assigned to your accounts and public chats. Unlike regular @usernames, these vanity usernames can be shorter than five characters.

These things appear in global search and have their own and links. You can deactivate any of your collectible usernames to hide them in search results without losing the name.

Also, Telegram’s dark theme has been tweaked to bring more balanced colors with better blurring effects when scrolling on your iPhone.

Blame it all on Apple

Telegram founder Pavel Durov has apologized for taking so long to deliver this update. Originally, it was supposed to go live ahead of Halloween, but Durov blames Apple’s protracted screening for the holdup.

“Apple claims they review apps within 24 hours, he wrote, but in our experience it takes at least 7-10 days for any meaningful product update to reach the App Store.”

Earlier, Durov said Apple informed him that it won’t approve the update unless Apple takes its cut from creators who monetize their efforts through the app.

This isn’t the first time Apple has delayed a Telegram update because it broke rules neither is this the first time Durov has vocally criticized the company and its “obscure” App Store review process. Read: How to fix “Cannot Connect to App Store” on iPhone and iPad

Telegram is among the top 10 most popular apps globally.

How to subscribe to Telegram Premium

Telegram Premium is a subscription offering for heavy Telegram users who want to make the most out of the app, priced at $5/month.

For that sum, Telegram Premium unlocks advanced features such as no ads, a larger file upload limit of four gigabytes, faster downloads, voice-to-text, premium stickers, reactions, badges and app icons, as well as doubled limits and other perks.

To subscribe to Telegram Premium, download the app on your device. Launch Telegram and open settings, then choose the Telegram Premium option.

As you know, Apple takes a 15-30 percent commission on all App Store and in-app sales. To subscribe to Telegram Premium at a discounted price, without paying Apple a fee,  follow @PremiumBot from within Telegram’s macOS app.