Facebook added voice messages to its chat app Messenger in 2013, and the company is improving that feature in its latest update by automatically transcribing these audio messages into text. The company is currently testing the feature with a tiny subset of Messenger’s more than 500 million users ahead of a forthcoming launch in the near future.
In addition to Messenger’s voice transcription capability, the firm announced buying a successful boutique design firm which has created popular mobile applications and online services, including the read-later app Readability and the rising blogging platform Medium.
We’re always working on ways to make Messenger more useful. As many of you know, we already offer a feature that enables people to send voice clips to their friends without having to type out the text. Today we are starting to roll out a small test that helps people read the voice clips they receive instead of having to play them out loud. So, for example, if you’re at a concert or in a meeting, and would prefer to read a voice clip from a friend, you now can if you’re part of the small test we’re rolling out. Our plan is to test this feature at a tiny scale for now and we’re looking forward to seeing what you think of it before making the experience more widely available.
Facebook also confirmed buying Teehan+Lax, the design agency behind the read-later app Readability, the blogging platform Medium and the social news reader Prismatic.
Launched in Toronto in 2002, the design shop helped Facebook’s ad targeting service Atlas relaunch a new and revamped product, website and brand.