Telegram opens up voice transcription to all users in latest update

Now free users can transcribe up to two messages per week. | Image: Telegram

Telegram has introduced a bunch of new features to its Android and iOS messaging apps this week, including easier ways to find channels to join and giving non-paying Telegram users access to voice transcriptions. In its latest update released on Thursday, Telegram said it was opening up the voice-to-text transcription feature instead of keeping it locked behind a $4.99 subscription to Telegram Premium, allowing anyone to transcribe voice and video messages, or translate audio into another language.

There is one important caveat: only Premium Telegram subscribers have unlimited access to transcriptions — free users will be limited to converting just two messages per week. Still, that’s better than nothing, and could prove useful in rare situations where you need to keep your hands free. Telegram says the transcription feature is rolling out gradually, and may not be available everywhere immediately.

A screengrab of the new Similar Channels feature on Telegram.
Image: Telegram
When you join a new channel, Telegram will now show you other public channels that may pique your interest.

Telegram is also introducing Similar Channels, which provides a list of other public channels that may be of interest when users join a new channel. These suggested channels are automatically recommended based on similarities in their subscriber bases, which may make it easier to find like-minded folks to chat with. Other new features in the latest update include the ability to boost the audience of your loved ones or favorite channels by reposting their stories to your own page, adding new content like text, audio, or video messages to those reposted stories, and a performance statistics view that displays story views, shares, and reactions for channels that can post stories.

A gif displaying Telegram’s new joint wallpaper feature for premium users.
Image: Telegram
Forcefully setting a custom background for you and your chat partner sounds like prime trolling material.
A gif demonstrating the new message vaporizing animation for Telegram users on iOS.
Image: Telegram
Watching messages get blasted into pixel dust is rather cathartic honestly.

A few cosmetic adjustments have also been made. Telegram Premium users can now set wallpapers on individual chats that will be displayed for both themselves and their chat partner, for example. Premium users can also make their profile page pop by customizing it with a unique color/logo combination. Finally, a fun new animation has been added for iOS users that vaporizes messages that have been set to auto-delete after a time limit has passed, creating a pixel explosion that Thanos himself would be amused by.

You can read the full list of updates over on Telegram’s blog.

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