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Telegram launches one-on-one video calls on iOS and Android

The company plans to add improvements to the alpha feature in coming months.

Secure messaging app Telegram has launched an alpha version of one-on-one video calls on both its Android and iOS apps, the company announced, saying 2020 had “highlighted the need for face-to-face communication.”

In a blog post marking its seventh anniversary, Telegram described the process for starting a video call: tap the profile page of the person you want to connect with. Users are able to switch video on or off at any time during a call, and the video calls support picture-in-picture mode, so users can continue scrolling through the app if that call gets boring. Video calls will have end-to-end-encryption, Telegram’s blog posts states, one of the app’s defining features for its audio calls and texting.

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“Our apps for Android and iOS have reproducible builds, so anyone can verify encryption and confirm that their app uses the exact same open source code that we publish with each update,” according to the post.

In April, Telegram announced it would launch group video calls later this year. This isn’t quite that, but in the most recent blog post, the company indicated that “video calls will receive more features and improvements in future versions, as we work toward launching group video calls in the coming months.”

Telegram said in April it had reached 400 million monthly active users, many of whom are Africans, with more and more Africans finding the app useful for online community-building.