Facebook said today it has begun allowing users to read automatically transcribed voice clips they’ve gotten through Messenger.
“We’re always working on ways to make Messenger more useful,” Facebook’s vice president of messaging David Marcus wrote. “Today we are starting to roll out a small test that helps people read the voice clips they receive instead of having to play them out loud.”
That would mean, Marcus said, as an example, that someone at a loud concert could read a voice clip from a friend. Similarly, someone in a quiet meeting would be able to read what a friend had sent them without appearing rude.
For now, Facebook is only making the feature available to a small number of people. It did not say how many would be selected. “Our plan is to test this feature at a tiny scale for now,” Marcus wrote, “and we’re looking forward to seeing what you think of it before making the experience more widely available.”
Facebook first added voice clips to Messenger two years ago.
Given Marcus’ history, it’s worth wondering if Facebook will require its employees to be among those testers. When he was president at PayPal, he famously told employees there that if they didn’t enthusiastically use the payment company’s tools, they should quit. “If you are one of the folks who refused to install the PayPal app or if you can’t remember your PayPal password,” he told employees last winter, “do yourself a favor, go find something that will connect with your heart and mind elsewhere.”