By Mike Knight
WhatsApp has announced that it will soon be introducing some new features to improve its voice messaging.
WhatsApp’s voice messaging, introduced back in 2013, saves typing and is a fast and free way to send expressive, encrypted messages. WhatsApp says that its users send 7 billion voice messages on average every day. WhatsApp is owned by Facebook/Meta and has been introducing more new features over the last two years to help it to compete with other messaging services like Snapchat.
The new features, to be rolled out in the next few weeks are:
- The ‘Out of Chat Playback’ feature which enables users to listen to a voice message outside of the chat, thereby allowing users to “multitask” or read and respond to other messages. This feature is particularly handy for listening to longer messages.
- The new ‘Pause/Resume Recording’ feature helps users to improve the content of their messages by giving them the option to pause the recording and resume when ready. This makes it easier, e.g. if interrupted while recording or if a bit more time is needed to structure and get all relevant thoughts into the message before hitting send.
- ‘Waveform Visualization’ shows users a visual representation of the sound on the voice message, making it easier for users to follow the recording.
- With ‘Draft Preview’, users can listen to voice messages before sending them. This can be very helpful for more important messages.
- Sometimes users can be interrupted when listening to a voice message. The ‘Remember Playback’ can save time by allowing users to pause when listening to a voice message, so that a user can pick up where they left off when returning to the chat rather than having to listen to the whole thing again.
- Another time-saving feature is ‘Fast Playback on Forwarded Messages’. This feature allows users to play voice messages at 1.5x or 2x speeds and listen to messages faster on both regular and forwarded messages.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
These new features to update WhatsApp’s voice messing, which has been around since 2013, is one of many updates to help WhatsApp stay popular and competitive, add value, and fend-off rivals. For example, in January Snapchat announced a major update (for iOS) which included improved calling, ‘Chat Replies’, Bitmoji Reactions (to allow for more expression), and Poll Stickers to enable emoji-powered polls in Snaps and Stories to survey friends.
WhatsApp has added several new features over the last year or so including ‘View Once’ for photos and Vanishing Messages, both of which were to protect users and their privacy and to compete with Snapchat’s ‘Stories’.
Many of WhatsApp’s new features are also part of a plan to consolidate and leverage the power of its other popular apps by integrating and making Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram interoperable.
Last year, Facebook also announced that WhatsApp was beta testing multi-device capability so that it could be used on a smartphone and up to four other non-phone devices simultaneously, even if the phone battery was dead. This was a move to make it even more appealing to multi-device owning (business) users, an important market for WhatsApp, following on from the launch of WhatsApp Business back in 2018 which was designed with small businesses in mind.
These latest voice messaging features show that the fight to stay at the top of the free encrypted messaging app market is still very much on and it is likely that more features will be added soon by WhatsApp and its rivals as part of this fight.
It can only really be good news for users while the app remains free and encrypted as it increases their capabilities on an already familiar platform.