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Facebook tests voice transcription for Messenger app

Facebook is beginning to test a new feature that will allow users to send transcriptions of voice messages via Messenger.

This means that the Messenger app will now jot down your audio in text form, and then relay it to your chosen recipient.

The option to listen to the audio will still remain, but it should offer message recipients a quick way to check up on voice messages without having to hit ‘play’.

The social network added voice messaging to the Messenger service back in 2013, enabling users to send voicemail-style clips to each other.

Unfortunately, while it was easy for the sender to decide when it’s easy for them to send a voice message, it’s much harder for the sender to know whether it’s convenient for a recipient to receive audio.

Transcription circumvents this issue entirely, as the sender can still make use of the more time-efficient voice messaging, while the recipient can check up on a text message in, let’s say, an office meeting, where audio wouldn’t be appropriate.

The feature will be turned on automatically, but Facebook assures us that users will be able to hit the off-switch should they dislike the transcription service.

Related: Zuckerberg explains why Facebook forced Messenger app

We won’t be seeing this feature any time soon, however, as Facebook says it’s only trialling the feature with a few people right now.

Our plan is to test this feature at a tiny scale for now and we’re looking forward to seeing what you think of it,” said David Marcus, Facebook’s Messenger lead.

This is likely because voice transcription still isn’t very good, often resulting in messages that are largely unintelligible.

The service will begin rolling out today – just don’t bank on being part of the initial voicemail posse.

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