Telegram is a relatively recent player in the instant messaging arena. It was launched as “secure, free messaging” just two months after Edward Snowden leaked a gigantic heap of NSA documents—which you might have heard a little something about. These leaked documents outlined, in part, the extent of government surveillance on everyday communications.
Telegram subsequently—and rapidly—amassed many fans—who loved the idea of free, secure messaging. It also met its share of naysayers—who challenged the company’s security claims.
The ensuing skirmishes between cryptography experts and the Telegram team went largely unnoticed by the public. Telegram proved to be a fast, featureful instant messaging service. Meanwhile, rapid development iterations and aggressive grassroots marketing, fed by the anti-establishment streak of its sponsors and makers, helped it grow.
The platform now claims to deliver 10B daily messages (or “telegrams,” in the parlance of Telegram). This number puts the technology in direct competition with WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, iMessage, Google Hangouts, and SMS (to name a few). More telling, however, is the fact that this number is a ten-fold increase, from the 1B daily messages they touted, only eight months ago.
Telegram is a highly unusual internet entity—it is the first ever consumer service with mass worldwide adoption that isn’t backed by a corporation, venture capitalists, or a government. The operation is largely bankrolled by Pavel Durov, who co-founded VKontakte, the wildly-successful Russian equivalent of Facebook. At the time when all free media in Russia was undergoing the process of becoming not free, Durov sold his share of the company for a few hundred million dollars. Alisher Usmanov, a business magnate with close ties to the Kremlin, bought his stake.  Durov then left the country to become a sort of a 21st century Captain Nemo.
Telegram has an open API, but this mostly exists as a curiosity for security researchers—its complexity tests the bounds of the word “interface,” rendering the API largely useless for developers. The official, simple way to add functionality to Telegram is the Telegram Bot Platform. For example, the @integram bot can be used to integrate Telegram with source control systems, such as GitHub or Bitbucket.
It’s certainly one of the more colorful stories we’ve come upon—at least for a chat platform. However, the real point of today’s post is to make note of yet another integration! Yes, Sameroom now integrates with Telegram! Sort of cool, isn’t it? [tweet]
I should also note that the integration does not use the bot platform. This is for two reasons: First, we began work on the integration before the bot platform was released. Second, using the bot platform would require us to rewrite a large portion of Sameroom’s core plumbing. That said, we hope to see a @sameroom Telegram bot in the future.
The new integration lets you connect conversations in Telegram to ones in Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Slack, Gitter, HipChat, Campfire, Fleep, Flowdock, IRC—and even more (soon).
To get started, sign in to Sameroom with Telegram.
Thanks to Eric Karjaluoto for help with grammer and punctuation.