TechCrunch reports that Facebook has updated its standalone Messenger app for iOS and Android with the ability to leave minute-long voice messages. Now users can speak instead of typing to Facebook friends and family by hitting the "+" symbol seated to the left of the text entry box. From there, users simply choose the microphone icon, then press and hold the red "record" button to leave a voice message instead of text.
Why do we need voice messaging too? It could be handy when sending hands-free messages while driving. It could also be easier to speak a long-winded message rather than typing it out on a virtual keyboard. Thus, sending a Facebook friend or family member directions to your house or event is now a simple press of a button.
In addition to Voice Messaging, Facebook is also reportedly testing VoIP calling with iOS users in Canada via the new updated Messenger app. Canadian users can simply tap the "i" in the top-right corner on the chat window and choose "Free Call". Currently the beta testing allows Canadian iOS users – presumably using an iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad with iOS 4.3 or later – to make VoIP calls to other residents within Canada.
The move seemingly pushes Facebook one step closer to world domination as the social network integrates itself into everything users do on their desktops, tablets and smartphones. Facebook has become the AOL of the late 1990s, a fenced-in network packed with its own websites, games, e-mail system and instant message service – only without a monthly subscription. But now in 2013, Facebook is taking advantage of today's technology by expanding into mobile devices and more.
But with wireless carriers moving to plans offering unlimited minutes, is VoIP messaging through Skype and Facebook even worth the time and data? Even more, how popular will Facebook's Voice Messaging service be months after the novelty wears off? It will be interesting to see how both will pan out, and how Facebook plans to generate revenue from these new services.
Just recently Facebook launched the Poke app to rival Snapchat. Both allow a user to send a message that exists for just a few seconds before they supposedly vanish from the recipient's phone. The latter has reportedly been popular with sexting teens who don't want evidence of law-breaking nudies lurking on their phones and tablets.
On Wednesday a report from Business Insider revealed that messages sent through Facebook's Poke app aren't permanently deleted for a full 90 days. Messages can be recovered from logs or backups until the encryption key is deleted. However images are not accessible by ordinary users – the logs and backups themselves are only saved as a prohibition against abuse.