Facebook today began testing a new feature on its Messenger service, automatically transcribing voice messages sent through the service directly into text.

Announced by the Facebook's VP of Messaging David Marcus on his Facebook page, the update is meant to be more helpful for people who enjoy sending and receiving voice messages but find themselves in situations such as a meeting where audio is less suitable to the environment (via The Next Web).

Facebook Messenger

"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."

Marcus goes on to mention that the current plan for the update is to keep it at a "tiny scale for now" and see how it performs in the wild. After seeing what the small scale of users think of the new feature, Facebook will decide whether to make the feature "more widely available."

Though the Facebook Messenger app retains a low rating in the App Store due to customer complaints over the company's continued attempt to separate individual services into various apps, it retained the top spot on 2014's list of most downloaded apps when results were announced late last month.

Top Rated Comments

quagski Avatar
119 months ago
Still won't download Messenger…
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Antoni Nygaard Avatar
119 months ago
I really liked they splitted those two apps up. On my iPhone i only have messenger app, I don't need to see my newsfeed every time I want to chat. And most of my conversations is on fb. So it's nice they only have a chat app
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ThisIsNotMe Avatar
119 months ago
Just what we need, more douchbags yelling into their phones in public.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
hkenneth Avatar
119 months ago
I quit using FB for ages.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iMerik Avatar
119 months ago
We don't need a separate app for every Facebook feature. It's as if your bank had an app that showed account balances but provided a different app to transfer money.

On the other hand, Facebook clearly wants a presence in various app categories not to mention the ad revenue.
Your example seems a bit extreme. I think of it similar to all of the Google apps that are out there. Why not just have a single Google App that includes Maps, Drive (and now the separate Sheets & Docs apps), Google+, Google Voice, Gmail, Hangouts, and even Chrome... just maybe a Google Chrome app that has all of those things in it.

Honestly, I can see where people might use one or the other a different times... check Facebook updates, go to Facebook -- chat with friends, go to Messenger. And I can see where development of these two things is much easier (and maybe necessary) being separate apps. It just doesn't seem such a big deal as I'm made to believe by all of the comments I read on this subject.

I understand that people have their reasons to complain about this, but I struggle to feel it's a big deal.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Z400Racer37 Avatar
119 months ago
Still haven't downloaded it, never will. Bite me FB. #
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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