Today, Facebook takes another step in fashioning itself as the premier way to message your friends. An update to their standalone iOS and Android Messenger app will allow users to send voice messages for the first time, and they’re testing VoIP calling.
First up, the new voice messaging. It’s exactly what it sounds like. The new Messenger app now features a big red record button inside the conversation stream. All users have to do is hold down the botton, record their voice message, and let go when they’re done. As of now, voice messages are limited to one minute.
The voice messages will appear directly in the conversation stream, alongside text messages.
Next, Facebook is also testing VoIP calling from the Messenger app – but only in Canada and only for iOS users. Canadian iOS users cannot make voice calls to Android users or U.S. users. Like all of Facebook’s location-specific tests, if it goes over well, you can expect it to roll out to more locations eventually.
The new VoIP calling is free, kind of. It will use up the data on your mobile plan. Canadian iOS users can access the feature by pushing the “i” icon within a conversation.
Count this as another attempt by Facebook to grab some more messaging market share. Last month, Facebook began allowing users to use Facebook Messanger for Android by simply signing up with a phone number – no Facebook account required.
And just a couple of weeks ago, Facebook unveiled their new standalone “Poke” app that takes on Snapchat. It allows users to send self-destructing text, photo, or video messages.