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Meta debuts slew of new features on WhatsApp, Messenger

WhatsApp said that users are sending an average seven billion voice messages on a daily basis on the app.

March 31, 2022 / 12:58 PM IST
Source: Reuters

Source: Reuters

Meta has rolled out a series of new features on its messaging apps WhatsApp and Messenger to make the app experience better for its users.

WhatsApp, which is currently the world's most popular messaging app, is aiming to make its voice message experience better for users through a range of new features and improvements.

Users are sending an average seven billion voice messages on a daily basis on the app, the company said, with the format becoming a preferred form of communication on the app in many situations since it allows people to "have more expressive conversations".

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"Showing emotion or excitement through voice is more natural than text. It’s simple for anyone to use - for your family members who prefer to avoid typing, for your friends who love to tell stories, for your peers who need encouraging words, or for when you want to hear your partner's voice at the end of a long day" the company said in a blogpost.


WhatsApp Voice updates

Voice messaging, which was introduced on WhatsApp in 2013, will especially be key to its increased adoption in emerging markets such as India, where people tend to rely on voice over typing text. India is the biggest market for WhatsApp with more than 500 million users.

Among the new features announced on March 30, the most noteworthy one is out of chat playback that lets users listen to a voice message outside the chat window, enabling them to multitask or read and respond to other messages. If they pause while listening to a voice message, they can resume listening to where they left off when they return to the chat.

The sound in voice messages are also now depicted visually as a waveform and one can also now play voice message at faster playback speeds such as 1.5x and 2x speeds to listen to messages faster on both regular and forwarded messages. That said, both these features however have been available to several users for quite a while now.

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While recording a message, users can now pause the recording and resume later. One can also listen to voice messages before sending them.

Messenger gets new shortcuts

The Messenger app is rolling out Slack-like shortcut capabilities that lets users speed up their communications with a new command system on iOS and Android. At launch, the app will offer two shortcuts - "@everyone" and "/silent".

@everyone lets users notify all participants in a chat. The company notes that this shortcut is perfect for group reminders, impromptu get-togethers or when users need to crowdsource an answer to a time-sensitive question.


On the other hand, users can use the "/silent" shortcut to send messages to chat participants without sending a notification to the whole group. The company said this shortcut removes the anxiety of interrupting someone in a different time zone with a non-urgent pop-up notification or disturbing them during their off hours.

Meta said it will also roll out more shortcuts in the coming weeks. For instance, "/gif" will let users on iOS devices easily find and send GIFs. iOS users will also get access to "/shrug" and "/tableflip" that will enable them to add these emoticons to their messages.

In the United States, iOS and Android users will get access to the "/pay" shortcut, making it easier for them to send and receive money in one-on-one Messenger chats.

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Vikas SN
first published: Mar 31, 2022 12:58 pm
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