EghtesadOnline: A recent update for Telegram, the most popular messaging app in Iran, was released over the weekend.
According to Telegram’s official website, in addition to several new languages, a new location-based service ‘Live Location’ has been added to the messenger.
Aiming to expand its market, Telegram’s team has added five new languages to its options — namely French, Indonesian, Malay, Russian and Ukrainian — and now supports 13 languages. The company’s statement indicates that more languages like Persian will be added soon.
Furthermore, users who do not like how a specific element in Telegram’s interface is translated in their language can use the ‘Localization Platform’ to suggest an alternative word or phrase. Everyone can suggest translations and vote for them, making Telegram ‘localization’ a community-driven effort. Several Iranian users have contributed to Telegram localization scheme, according to Financial Tribune.
Online analytics firm SimilarWeb reports that Iranians with a 34% share constitute the biggest single group of Telegram users. Russian users trail in second place with only 14%.
An estimated 45 million Iranians are actively using the app and through social media, have often called upon Telegram CEO and founder Pavel Durov to add a Persian interface to the application.
To address the market’s demand several local developers have released modified versions of the app better known as “forks”, which unlike Telegram have Persian user interfaces. Some of these forks are Telegram Farsi, Mobogram, Irangram and Telegraph.
In software engineering, a “project fork” happens when developers take a copy of the source code from one software package — in this case, Telegram’s source code — and start independent development, creating a distinct piece of software in the process.
On July 29, Durov took to Twitter to say the company is set to regulate activities of modified versions of the application.
Durov said, “We will clarify the rules for such forks soon. If they ignore them [the rules], we will have to take action to defend the privacy of our users.”
Seemingly, the modified versions are riddled with ‘backdoors’ which can easily be exploited by hackers. A backdoor is a method, often secret, of bypassing normal authentication or encryption in a computer system, or program which can be used for securing remote access to a device without the user’s knowledge.
In response to Durov, several Iranian users asked the company CEO to add the Persian language to its options, saying that in case the company does so, most users of the forks will switch to Telegram’s main app.
By introducing a Persian interface, Telegram will kill two birds with one stone: erode security threats arisen from the forks widespread use and cater to the needs of Iranian users.
The newly launched location-based service named ‘Live Location’ enables users to streamline their location to any chat in real time. For instance, when the users are on their way to an appointment and they are late instead of sending static locations on the map every minute, they can share Live Location with other users.
To use the feature, users should select ‘Location’ from the attachment menu and choose ‘Share My Location for [a defined period of time with the chosen contact]’.
Telegram’s in-app audio player has also been completely redesigned.