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Instagram adds voice message support to Direct chats

Published Dec 11th, 2018 6:30AM EST
Instagram Voice Message
Image: Simon Belcher/imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock

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What was that, you wanted your Instagram experience to be even more cluttered than before? Well, Facebook’s granting you that wish, as the company added a new feature that’s not necessarily a must-have trick for an app whose primary purpose is photography. The Direct chats available in Instagram now support voice messaging, whether you like it or not.

The feature is rolling out on both iPhone and Android, which means you’ll be able to leave voice messages directly in the photo-sharing app, as well as listen to the voice recordings of others.

Voice messaging isn’t a new feature for chat apps, and we have support for it in the main chat apps out there, including Facebook’s popular WhatsApp and Messenger chat apps. It’s a useful feature that lets you quickly send longer messages to friends and family without having to type out everything. You could always use a voice assistant to dictate messages and let it handle all the typing for you, but voice messages still feel faster.

But that doesn’t mean Instagram needs more distractions that would transform the app into a social network that would resemble more and more to its parent company than what the Instagram creators had in mind. And Instagram doesn’t feel like the instant messaging platform to go to for sending voice messages, especially the urgent kind that you don’t have time to type in full.

Then again, the Instagram creators left Facebook only a few months ago, which means they no longer have a say about the future of Instagram. Also true is the fact that text conversations lack the magic of voice chats. There’s no tone and subtext in texts, whereas voice messages might deliver richer content to the recipient. Not to mention that voice computing is the next big thing, and voice messages is one of the best ways to train us to talk to computers more. Facebook, of course, has a clear interest in voice computing, having just launched its voice-controlled smart speaker.

To use the new voice messages feature in Direct chats, update Instagram to the latest version available for iOS or Android.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.