12 Jan 2016

5 ways to use the Telegram messenger on your Linux computer

Mobile technology develops rapidly nowadays. Do you remember that just 5-8 years ago the most you could get from your mobile device was phone calls and text messages?

Today your smartphone can do more than a typical computer could do 10 years go. Plus, smartphone is also mobile and very often connected to the Internet.

One of the areas that grows exponentially now among smartphone applications is instant messengers. The ability to send your friends messages through the Internet attracts many users, especially as these messages cost many-many times less than standard text messages (SMS). "Many-many times" actually means free. You only pay for the traffic you use, which is quite cheap except for roaming cases. And you can send cross-border messages at the same [nil] price as local, which is impossible to achieve for Mobile Network Operators.

If you still don't understand what messengers I am talking about, I'd like to name two: Whatsapp and Viber. You should have heard at least one of these names.

But I will not talk about these apps. I don't use them. I don't trust them.

What do I use? I use Facebook Messenger and Telegram.

Facebook Messenger - because I use Facebook anyway. But what is Telegram you may ask?

Telegram is a relatively new player on this market. It has three benefits that make it stand out for me:
  1. it is open source.
  2. it is secure – you can get a serious prize for breaking its security!
  3. it is absolutely free and will never push ads.
At least, these are promises for now. And I trust them.

Telegram is available on your mobile phone AND on your desktop both, which is quite convenient when you share your time between both.

It is quite clear how you can use your messenger on the phone. But how can you run Telegram on the desktop? There are actually five ways to do so. Let's have a look at them.

Just before we start, you need to know that you cannot register a Telegram account through desktop. You still have to do this using your mobile app. And every time you register a new desktop application from the list below, you need to confirm it either via an SMS message or via a code sent to your mobile app.

1. Web version

This is the most obvious way. Telegram has a dedicated web version that runs on any more or less modern browser.

2. Chrome App

If your browser is Chrome or Chromium, then you can have Telegram as an App in there. Once installed, you can run Telegram in a separate window and as a separate application. You don't even need to start the main browser to use the Chrome App.

If you don't want to install a Chromium App, you can achieve a similar result by creating an "Application shortcut" for the web-version of the messenger.

3. Firefox Extension

Firefox users do not have the functionality of standalone Apps, like Chrome users do. However, Telegram is still available there. Navigate to your Add-ons and search for Telegram. Several add-ons are available, decide on the one you need.

4. Standalone Application

Telegram created a standalone application that you can run directly on your computer, even if it does not have a browser. Are there computers without a browser though?

Yes, you read it right. You can have a native Linux application directly from the Telegram team. Download the archive from the official page, unpack it and launch the Telegram desktop app from there.

5. Pidgin plugin

If you use Pidgin, it would make much sense to put your Telegram account into that messenger too, minimizing the number of applications you run.

There is a special plugin for Telegram that you can install. I will not give you instructions here, they are well-written in the WebUpd8 article.

The only downside of using Pidgin is that the functionality of the plugin is not very close to any other option. For example, you cannot read the history of your messages or manage the contact list. But Pidgin plugin is enough for messaging, which is the most important bit.

Which of these options do you use?

PS. If you want to connect with me via Telegram, why not ask my number in an email?


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