What would life be like, with our smartphones and new ways to interact socially, if it weren’t for WhatsApp? Things would probably be somewhat different. Or not, considering that there are tons of apps that imitate it and try to dethrone it from being the most popular instant messaging app today. Because of this, it is always a big deal when they release changes, and this time the change is in how we send messages: You can now record and send voice messages in your conversations.
Perhaps for some this may come as an annoying change for something as simple as where the button for sending voice messages is located. The new microphone icon, which you have to click and hold to send a message, is located where the send button used to be, which will now only appear if you start typing text. It isn’t too annoying, but it does cause some confusion, which isn’t good.
At any rate, this new feature works amazingly. It was already in place before in a way, but as an attached message that would take much longer to do than it does now. To send a voice message, all you have to do is hold down the microphone button while speaking. To send it, just let the icon go, or swipe your finger to the side to cancel. It works the same on Android and iOS, but does vary a little on devices that run operating systems that don’t support touch movements.
There are features that were very well designed, and none of the competition has them. For example, If you have Android 4.1 or greater, you can play a message directly from the notification bar, without having to open the app. And on all devices, you can choose which speaker to use to play back the message thanks to the proximity sensor. The message plays on speaker phone by default, but if you put your phone to your ear, it will play from the usual call speaker to maintain some privacy.
Perhaps this isn’t the great revolutionary idea that WhatsApp needed to demolish its increasingly popular and clever competitors, with the Japanese company, Line, at the lead; but, it is one way to keep itself at the top of list by rolling out features that even Facebook Messenger, one of those apps that has the power of its brand behind it, has had for some time. Will voice commands be used a lot? Only time will tell; but giants such as Google are using them on their browser and search engine. What is clear is that cell phones are being used less to talk and more for other things.
This new update is now available for iOS and Windows Phone, while the Android version could be released any time now.