Telegram has released an update for its Bot API that it calls the “biggest change” to its platform “since June 2015.” Included in version 2.0 are a slew of features, including new inline keyboards, support for more file types, group administration tools, and more. The company introduced the release this past weekend, just several days before Facebook’s F8 developer conference.
With inline keyboards, Telegram has added a feature that provides customized input based on the message it belongs to. They’re available for messages that are sent both in chat and inline mode. The new keyboards won’t send any messages to the chat. Instead, they serve as support for several button types: callback buttons, links to websites, and switch to inline buttons (this prompts the user to select a chat and inserts the bot’s username into the input field).
Telegram has limited inline keyboards to “one-on-one chats only – bot-user in case of chat bots and user-user in case of inline bots.” It’s still testing out this feature for groups and channels.
Another notable update is the ability for bots to manipulate existing messages, which the service hopes will reduce clutter and “build more fluid interfaces.” Instead of having to post new messages every time something is updated, the bot will amend a previous response in real time, giving the impression of a dynamic conversation.
Bots will also now be able to support 19 file types that are on Telegram, such as stickers, videos, music, voice, audio, articles, locations, documents, and more. This expands how conversational one can be with the software. They’ve also been made more intelligent, as you can now easily switch between the private chat with a bot and a public discussion. Developers can add a “switch to PM” button above the inline results that will open up a private chat with the bot. After you’re done, switch back to the original chat.
Telegram is also rolling out new tools for developers to manage groups using bots. One of the first features is the ability to remove members from groups and supergroups.
You can read the entire change log for Telegram’s Bot API here.
The company is looking to stay ahead of Facebook, especially as it’s believed that the social networking company will debut bots on its Messenger app this week at F8. The marketplace is becoming an increasingly crowded one too, with services like Slack, Kik, Line, WeChat, and others. Some of the bots that Telegram supports include those from YouTube, IMDB, GitHub, Giphy, Wikipedia, and Forbes.