What is Instant View and Why It's Important

What is Instant View and Why It's Important

Pavel Durov

A few years ago, Telegram was one of the first messaging apps to generate previews for links shared in messages. Since then, some of our competitors started to do the same, but we at Telegram like to raise the bar when it comes to messaging. Our ambition now is not only to show you a small snippet previewing the link you were sent, but to give you a quick and easy way to view the contents of the link without having to load the page in your browser.

We call this technology Instant View. Instant View is a way to read articles without leaving Telegram. Instant View is also the most private and secure means of viewing web stories, because your IP address, cookies and metadata are not logged this way.

The big news this week is that Instant View now supports links from 2,277 websites. From now on, not just Telegram or Medium blog posts, but links to stories of pretty much every mainstream media have an Instant View. This is the result of an epic crowdsourcing effort of 558 coders, who have submitted 37,507 sets of rules to generate instant views. Since May, our platform allowed alternative sets of rules to compete, so that the most accurate ones would ultimately win and bring $100 each to their authors. 

As a result, we distributed $251,664 as prizes among 206 winners. This might seem like a lot of money, but no one has ever done anything like that before – the winners virtually helped us parse a big chunk of the internet into a predictable format. The scope of this project is unprecedented, and I’m certain we’re a few years ahead of the competition here (to be fair – Facebook has a similar tech called Instant Articles, but it supports only a handful of web-sites, because unlike Instant Views it requires significant effort from publishers to set it up).

On some Instant Views you will see a ‘Join’ button that allows you to subscribe to the channel of the media that published the story. This means their news site added a code on its page that refers to its Telegram channel (like <meta name="telegram:channel" content=“@nameofthechannel”>). This will allow publishers to establish direct connection with their readers on Telegram, eventually monetizing this link sharing activity on our platform. 

Of course, there’s still a lot left to do. If Instant View is gradually replacing your web-browser for links, its UI should have features that will allow you to bookmark a page to return to it later (bookmarks, tabs, history). And while 2,277 is already a huge and unprecedented number (the full list of supported domains is here), eventually we’d like to support many more websites. The end goal is to make almost all the stories that you share on Telegram instantly viewable.

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