The Telegram messenger app has hit 35 monthly users, partially boosted by when WhatsApp went down for four hours in late February.
The app skyrocketed to the top of the App Store chart, becoming the top free app in 46 countries as WhatsApp users sought another way to send messages during the downtime. After typically getting about 100,000 daily downloads but got nearly five million downloads from the new users.
WhatsApp recovered after the problem was fixed and is back ahead of Telegram, but Telegram has kept momentum, passing the 35 million user mark.
Its rise to the top tier of apps actually started around February 17. After the WhatsApp downtime, Telegram’s Markus Ra told The Verge:
“We have been the no. 1 app in Spanish, Arabic, and several Latin American app stores for several weeks before the Facebook deal happened. The growth was there — so the WhatsApp acquisition and problems merely multiplied the effect across all affected countries.”
The Durov brothers, who built Russia’s largest social network VKontakte, also built Telegram.
The Verge says that “Telegram feels in many ways like a straight-up clone of WhatsApp, from its green double-checkmark read receipts to its cartoonish wallpapers. There’s also the usual gamut of messaging app features including the ability to see a friend’s online status and attach photos, videos, your location, contacts, and documents to messages. But where it lacks originality, Telegram makes up for it in speed and security features.”
Pavel Durov told TechCrunch: ““The No. 1 reason for me to support and help launch Telegram was to build a means of communication that can’t be accessed by the Russian security agencies, so I can talk about it for hours.”
There’s a $200,000 reward for anyone who can hack the app.
“No one won so far, but a guy from Russia found a serious issue in December and received $100,000 from me,” Durov said.
In its Google Play app store description, Telegram describes itself as the fastest messaging app on the market and highlights its security.
The app has gotten scores of high reviews on Google Play, with an overall average of 4.1
“I know it’s similar to Watsapp. But much more secure,” said one user.
Along with 329,167 five star reviews, there are tens of thousands of one-star reviews, and in between.
“Lack of important functions,” said one user, noting in part that you can’t select multiple images to send at once in the same application.