Mobile messaging pioneer, Whatsapp, has added a walkie-talkie-like voice messaging feature to its app. Users will now be able to press and hold a button to speak, and have that voice clip sent once the button is released.
Whatsapp has reportedly worked on this feature for the past half year, and is intent on making the experience as smooth as possible. The app will detect whether the phone is held to the ear or in front of the user, and pipes received messages at the appropriate volumes.
Voice messaging appears to have taken off in Asia, where many of Whatsapp’s messaging competitors have had this feature for a while now.
Tencent WeChat, for example, upped the voice messaging game by adding five voice filters and six background tracks you can layer under your voice recording, such as a rainstorm or a pumping club track. Perfect for sending those fake emergency messages to say you’re caught in bad weather.
Bubbly (formerly Bubble Motion) also updated its app recently to include voice filters such as reverb and pitch-changers, reflecting the trend towards voice messaging here.
Whatsapp also told AllThingsD that its users now send 11 billion messages and receive 20 billion messages per day, up from a total of 27 billion in June. It now has 300 million active users each month. Closest rival WeChat has about 195 million active per month, and a base of 300 million registered users.
The Sequoia-backed company has just 45 employees, for the considerable scale that its product has reached. It has famously refused to display ads on its interface, instead charging 99 cents for its iOS app at the start, before deciding to charge a subscription starting last month.