Telegram has rolled out a major new update that brings new features in addition to improvements. It introduces topics in large groups, adding favorite usernames that can be secured via the blockchain and traded or exchanged online. Speech-to- for video messages that require a subscription is also introduced, basically converting any video message to text. This update is available for Telegram users on Android and iOS platforms. While most of the new features are available for both operating systems, there are also some specific features that have been created for each platform.

the larger updates are themes in groups, which can be enabled by group administrators in their group settings. These basically act as individual chats within the group, so they also have their own shared media and notification settings. All regular features available in groups such as polls, pings and bots will also be available in topics. According to Telegram, the new topic feature is currently only available for large groups (over 200 members), and will roll out a different set of tools to smaller groups later this year.

The new update also introduces favorite usernames, allowing users to assign multiple favorite usernames to each of their accounts and public chats. Collectible usernames are secured by Telegram’s TON blockchain network (which went live earlier this year) and can be bought and sold using a new platform created for it called Fragment. Favorite usernames can be less than 5 characters long and allow users to create unique usernames. Telegram claims that once a user has a bookmarkable username, they have full control over it and can deactivate it if desired (making them invisible online) without losing the name.

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Telegram subscribers have had speech-to- for some time now, allowing them to instantly convert voice messages to text. The new update now also allows subscribers to convert video messages to text. Premium subscribers also get access to 12 new emoji that can be used for messages, captions and even status.

Other improvements and updates include a redesigned iOS night mode that, according to Telegram, makes colors look more balanced and includes better blur effects when scrolling through chats. Android users can now adjust the size by changing the text size in the chat settings, which will make all chat text appear larger or smaller in size. The new update also brings 4 new interactive emojis that basically play full screen in one-on-one chats.

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Rebecca French writes books about Technology and smartwatches. Her books have received starred reviews in Technology Shout, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist. She is a New York Times and a USA Today Bestseller...