Facebook introduced a new voice messaging feature today for its Facebook Messenger apps on Android and iOS, giving the mobile carriers something else to worry about. While apps like HeyTell have had this functionality for a while, they never really took off as a major way of communicating. With Facebook's huge user base, voice messaging could potentially take off, giving cell phone users less of a reason to pay for pricey voice plans.
Facebook Messenger's voice messaging system will work by using your data connection, whether Wi-Fi or mobile data. If you have a limited number of minutes, this could potentially help you from going over your allotted minutes. Those with bad voice coverage will no doubt find this feature useful as well.
To use the new feature, tap on the "+" and you'll see an option to "Record Voice." Tap that and a record button will pop up. Simply tap and hold to record. Let go when you're done with your message and you're ready to send it. If you messed up, you can slide your finger anywhere off of the button and release to cancel the recording. Users on the receiving end can tap on the message to play it back.
Still, Facebook will have to overcome users' privacy fears. People are already wary of Facebook's privacy policies and its recent misstep with Instagram's terms of service sure doesn't help. Facebook users will have to trust and buy into Facebook's ecosystem if Facebook wants to become a major source of voice communication.
The new messaging feature is still being tested so be patient if you don't see the update on your phone yet.