Telegram‘s latest v4.9 update is the talk of the town thanks to the new Passport functionality. Passport is marketed as a unified authorization method for services that would require personal identification. With Passport, users upload their personal identity and other important documents online to Telegram’s servers, and then this data can be instantly shared with services that require real-world identification.
If you think this is a bad idea, you certainly wouldn’t be alone. The company assures that a few security measures, such as end-to-end encryption and a future move to a decentralized cloud storage, are in place to prevent unauthorized access. But the very idea of voluntarily uploading personally sensitive documents to an Instant Messenger app sounds flawed to some, no matter the convenience levels.
Thankfully, you can continue using the service without needing to sign up for Passport (so far, at least). If you are a Telegram user, version 4.9 also quietly brought along an often requested feature. Now, you can mark messages as read from the message notification itself. This would remove the need to open the application when you already know the content of the message, and you will no longer have the unread counter displaying beside that chat when you do eventually open the app.
Small, quality-of-life improvements like this make Telegram a great choice for an IM as against popular choices like WhatsApp. Hopefully, the Telegram team continues on adding more community-requested features to the app. You can download the official app from the Google Play Store below. Also be sure to check out the official XDA-Developers group!