Facebook's Testing Out Voice Clips as a Status Update Option
Can’t be bothered typing on your tiny smartphone keyboard to post your latest update? Now, Facebook's testing a new option which would enable users to share voice clips as status updates, providing another means through which to share your thoughts and opinions.
As reported by TechCrunch, Facebook's now testing voice clips with a small percentage of users in India. The feature was actually spotted ‘in the wild’ last week, with Twitter user Abhishek Saxena sharing screenshots of it in action.
The process itself seems fairly straight-forward – in the status update options, a new type of update called ‘Add Voice Clip’ is now available to those with access. Tap on it, and you’ll be able to record your message, with a waveform graphic indicating the recording in progress (as shown above). There's currently no length limit on your audio clips, and you can preview your audio (if you can stand the sound of your own voice) before uploading it to the News Feed.
Facebook confirmed the test to TechCrunch, saying that:
“We’re always working to help people share and connect with their friends and family on Facebook in ways that are authentic to them. Voice Clips gives people a new medium through which to express themselves.”
So what’s the specific use case for audio clips as status updates?
As TechCrunch notes, another benefit of voice clips could be in alleviating the need to type in different languages, which can sometimes be more difficult than speaking them, especially if you’re regularly exposed to them in normal conversation (but not necessarily typing the words). There’s a wide range of different languages and dialects spoken throughout India, and the fact that Facebook has begun testing of the option here somewhat underlines this potential use case.
And then there’s also the benefit of not having to type, enabling hands-free responses. Facebook’s reportedly developing its own smart speaker device, and the popularity of similar voice-activated home assistants is on the rise. Given the increasing use of such tools, it could be that Facebook is looking to tap into newly habitual behaviors, speaking to our devices instead of typing.
Worth noting too, spoken queries are much more popular among younger users, pointing to a rising trend.
And while usage of voice clips as status updates may seem fairly limited in scope, particularly from a social media marketing standpoint, it’s another possibility to consider, another tool to have at your disposal when looking to communicate on Facebook.
Would voice clips have any value as a brand tool? If it were to be rolled out more broadly, and added as a Page option, there would surely be use cases to consider – having more options is always better, though not a heap of immediate 'lightbulb' applications spring to mind.
As noted, Facebook has, at this stage, only confirmed that the test is happening, with no details on a potential expanded roll out.
Follow Andrew Hutchinson on Twitter