Telegram’s 12th update for the year is out – Adds reactions, hidden text and more

The thing about the instant messaging platform Telegram is that it is always on the ball when it comes to rolling out updates. As 2021 winds to a close, they have come out with the 12th update for the year and the second in  December. Now users can add iMessage-style reactions, translate messages, get themed QR codes and even have an option to hide texts such as spoilers. 

This update is Telegram 8.4, and is being rolled out to all Android users. With each new update, Telegram seems to take a new leap. The previous one significantly improved user privacy, both for individual and group chats.

iMessage-style reactions now on Telegram

Telegram Update December 2021

(Image credit: Telegram Blog)

Telegram, it may be recalled, was the first messaging app to add animated and interactive emojis. Now, six of these emojis — thumbs up, thumbs down, heart, fire, party, and star-eyes — are being made available as reactions to share feelings and feedback – without sending any messages. Basically, Telegram would now allow users to send reactions that attach to specific messages instead of sending as their own messages. 

This is a feature that Android systems are still to crack with conviction. It is popular on iMessage, and on platforms like Slack. 

To send a quick reaction, users need to simply double-tap a message. Users can also change their default reaction to another emoji in Settings.

“While Reactions are available in private chats, in groups and channels, the admins decide whether to turn on reactions and choose which reaction emoji are available in the chat,” Telegram said.

How to hide text and kill spoilers on Telegram

Telegram Update December 2021

(Image credit: Telegram Blog)

Another interesting update is the one to hide particular part of a message in the chat, as well as in the chat list and notifications. 

This hidden text update to help mask spoilers. So if you want to hold forth about say about Minnal Murali and his epic fight with the antagonist Shibu but others in the group have still not caught the film, all you need to do is select any part of your text when typing and choose the new 'Spoiler' formatting. When others in the group are ready to read it, they just need to tap the spoiler text to read it.

One more interesting new feature that is available for Telegram users now is they can translate any message into another language, right within the app. Users can enable Translation in Settings > Language and a dedicated Translate button will be added to the context menu when selecting a message. The list of available languages for translation depends on your phone's operating system. Users can also exclude any language they speak fluently – which will hide the translate button for those messages.

The latest update also adds the ability to generate QR codes for any user that have a public username. Tap the new QR code icon next to the username of a person (or from a chat's info page), choose the colors and the pattern of your choice, then print, post or share the QR code to other apps.

Telegram has also redesigned all the context menus for macOS with new shortcut hints and animated icons for every single menu item in the app.

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Birds of Prey: first reactions make it sound way better than Suicide Squad

The world premiere for Birds of Prey was last night, and the first reactions to the DC Comics adaptation are now hitting social media. The overall response to the Suicide Squad spin-off starring Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn seems really positive, with praise for the movie's action, cast and choice of tone. 

First reactions don't necessarily represent the eventual consensus around a film – just look at the reactions to The Rise of Skywalker after its premiere, some of which sound like they're about an entirely different movie – but they're a decent indicator of what to expect. The whole phenomenon of first reactions has been parodied extensively by Ben Mekler on Twitter. 

With that in mind, the responses to Birds of Prey are promising, and this movie is almost certainly going to be better than Suicide Squad by default. So let's get into them.

First up, we've got kind words for the ensemble cast of the movie, which includes Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress, Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary and Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Cain (the second Batgirl in the comics). The movie's villain, Black Mask, is played by Ewan McGregor. 

Then we've got some favorable comparisons to 2019's Shazam!, which was largely praised for being a different and fun take on a superhero movie. It was more fun than Justice League was, anyway. 

"A criminally fun celebration of sisterhood," is how writer Millicent Thomas puts it. There are a few comparisons to Deadpool, too, in terms of the movie's cheeky tone and fourth wall-breaking.

People really seem to enjoy Ewan McGregor's performance, with one writer suggesting he deserves awards recognition.  

Then we have some "awkward plotting" called out in Birds of Prey, but amid overall praise for the movie. 

Birds of Prey, directed by Cathy Yan, will be released on February 7. It's the first of two DC Comics adaptations coming this year, with the other, Wonder Woman 1984, coming on June 5. Margot Robbie will next appear as Harley Quinn in 2021's The Suicide Squad, directed by Guardians of the Galaxy's James Gunn. 

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