Telegram vs WhatsApp – which service is better

2016-10-08 15:02:41
In: News Research
Beyond all doubt, WhatsApp is a real giant among modern messengers. However, currently, it has a worthy competitor – it is Telegram which rapidly managed to force its concurrence and even took the lead on some positions. In view of recent developments, people became interested in learning which application is better – Telegram or WhatsApp? Letʼs try to explore this question, relying on the facts, functional characteristics and expert opinions.    

Short retrospective journey into the history

WhatsApp was launched in 2009. The founders of this application, Jan Koum and Brian Acton, were aimed at providing an alternative to payable text messages. In as little as three years, the number of active users exceeded 100 million, and the losses of mobile operators were equal to tens of million dollars according to some estimates. The messenger became so popular that it caught the attention of Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook who bought company stock for $19 billion in 2014. At the beginning of 2016, the number of active users was equal to more than 1 billion.     The Durov brothers, Pavel and Nikolai, are the founders of Telegram. Their idea consisted in creating an anonymous messenger which will be completely secure from hacking and message decryption. The given service entered the market in 2013 and at the beginning of 2016 its audience numbered in 100 million people which fully conformed to a graph showing the growth of its main competitor. And if the users’ choice was obvious several years ago, then currently far from everyone can immediately determine which service is better – Telegram or Viber.   The situation is becoming even more serious due to strained relations between Jan Koum and Pavel Durov. The former charged his competitors with plagiarism while mentioning that a new messenger is the living image of WhatsApp. Durov decided not to respond to criticism at once, although later he made a caustic remark: «Telegram is the same as WhatsApp but hugely better».  

Difference between Telegram and WhatsApp: the key points

Both services are free cross-platform applications having similar set of functions. However, there are some differences between them. Letʼs focus our attention on key distinctive peculiarities of Telegram.    
  • Information storage. Telegram conversations are stored at the server’s «cloud», while the competitor’s messages are saved in phone memory.
  • Group chats. The process of creating communities is practically identical. The difference is just in the invitation of new members. When it comes to WhatsApp, only administrator have the possibility of doing this, but Telegram is characterized by more democratic approach – an option of inviting new users is available for each member of a group (given that its creator did not appoint administrators). Besides, the supergroups can have up to 5000 members - it is the largest indicator among the similar applications.
  • This is one of the unique peculiarities of Pavel Durovʼs messenger. The users can not only choose a standard robot for carrying out some operations but also create their own bot.
  • Self-destruct timer. One more interesting option includes self-destructing messages available for Secret Chats only. After setting the timer (for 15 second, for example), your messages self-destruct from both interlocutors’ devices as soon as the time runs out.
  • Automatic account deletion. If a person does not visit his page for a long time, it is automatically deleted.
  • A great variety of original stickers makes your conversation more alive. Most significantly, all of them are free.

Shift in priorities or how Telegram is better than WhatsApp

Considering that Pavel Durovʼs product has been entering the market as anonymous service, it is no surprise that it has no peers in terms of security. Nikolai Durov has developed the unique MTProto protocol which allows creating an impassable barrier for hackers. The increased security is provided in Secret Chats where data encryption and decryption is carried out on the clients’ devices. In such a way, there is no possibility of intercepting and reading virtual conversation.   WhatsApp, in its turn, was repeatedly subjected to criticism from the experts drawing attention to application vulnerability to hacking attacks. Although a serious work was lately done in this direction (in particular, the end-to-end encryption principle was implemented), Telegram advantage in terms of security is still undeniable.     Along with security functions, MTProto protocol provides the best data transmission speed. When it comes to text messages, the difference in operation speed is practically indistinguishable but it becomes stark when sending large amount of information.  


Currently, WhatsApp has an absolute advantage, holding the vast majority of market. However, Telegram is gradually taking the lead, and even today lots of clients already change the applications, giving preference to more secure and fast service. If Jan Koum and his team take no essential actions, a leader might be changed in the years ahead.