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Saturday, February 7, 2015

WhatsApp - Telegram and more - when did you last write a letter ?

In July 2013, I  went  to Telegraph Office in Anna Salai to give a telegram to my son – to be preserved for posterity…….. the telegram was at somepoint the backbone and most trusted official communication, and  after 163 years, it halted painfully.  On Monday, 15th  July 2013, the state-run telecommunications  sent the  final telegram, closing down a service that fast became a relic in an age of email, reliable landlines and ubiquitous cellphones.  The first telegram in India was transmitted between Calcutta and Diamond Harbour on November 5, 1850.

The habit of writing letters is almost dead ~ ask any modern day youngster whether they have ever used a Postcard, Inland letter or postal cover ? For a couple of decades e-mail ruled the roost, but in shrinking times, with SMS language becoming popular, came other social media including Facebook and Whatsapp.

WhatsApp Messenger is a cross-platform mobile messaging app which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS.  WhatsApp Messenger is available for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia and many other smart phones -  yes, those phones can all message each other! Because WhatsApp Messenger uses the same internet data plan that is used  for email and web browsing, there is no cost to message and stay in touch with your friends. In addition to basic messaging WhatsApp users can create groups, send each other unlimited images, video and audio media messages.

WhatsApp Inc. was founded in 2009 by Brian Acton and Jan Koum, both former employees of Yahoo.  It is a paid service, though available for free for a limited time in most mobiles ~ and often you see messages circulating that if you forward the message to a group of X+, WA will change colour and become free for you ! – there are millions of active users who live and sleep on WA.  By some accounts,  India is the largest single country in terms of number of users.

WA is not alone, there are more like FB, Snapchart, WeChat, LINE, Telegram … Sometime back when WhatsApp went down for four hours,  nearly 5 million reportedly  signed up for Telegram. The app skyrocketed to the top of the App Store charts, and became  the top free app in 46 countries from Germany to Ecuador. In the US and several other countries, the app is claimed to be  no. 1 in the social networking category, ahead of Facebook, WhatsApp, Kik, and others. There is no logical explanation as to why users of WA turned to Telegram and not to other similar services !
Telegram Messenger is a cross-platform instant messaging system whose clients are open source and servers are proprietary software. Telegram users can exchange encrypted and self-destructing messages, photos, videos and documents (all file-types supported). Telegram is officially available for Android and iOS (including tablets and devices without Wi-Fi) and for Windows Phone as a beta.

Telegram was launched in 2013 by the brothers Nikolai and Pavel Durov, the founders of VK, Russia's largest social network.  Telegram Messenger LLP is an independent nonprofit company based in Berlin, Germany, which is not connected to VK.  In Mar 2014,  the first contest ended with no winners and Telegram published the keys necessary to decrypt traffic. Telegram software allows the sending of voice notes, photos, videos, and files of all types. It also has groups for up to 200 members. The application features two types of chats. Ordinary chats use client-server encryption and can be accessed from multiple devices. Secret Chats use end-to-end encryption and can only be accessed from the two participating devices.

Old order changeth, yielding place to new ! – and technology is often confounds !!
With regards – S. Sampathkumar

21st Jan 2015.

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