Facebook testing 'Voice Clips' feature with select Indian users

By Anuj Sharma - March 3, 2018
Voice Clips will allow users share personal content even if they do not have video capture or editing capabilities. ....

With the hope that voice could get more people to share and is easy to record, social media giant Facebook is testing “Voice Clips” as a status update with select Indian users.  

“We are always working to help people share and connect with their friends and family on Facebook in ways that are authentic to them. Voice Clips gives people a new medium through which to express themselves,” a Facebook spokesperson said.

Voice Clips will allow users share personal content even if they do not have video capture or editing capabilities.

Facebook currently allows user to do private Voice Clip sharing through Messenger. To access the new feature, users need to select “Add Voice Clip” from the compose status menu that includes photo uploads, location check-ins and more. Just like they record voice in messages, users will see a waveform of their voice while they record, and can go on for as long as their device storage allows. There is no specific limit from Facebook.

Users then can only preview their clip and can later share it to the News Feed where their friends can listen. But since Facebook records that clip as video, you can can’t close Facebook and keep listening.

Facebook wants to start Voice Clips with India which makes sense to me as the country holds 22 popular languages. Also, while Facebook has reached a saturation point in some of western markets, India’s population of 1.3 billion is still huge and growing in terms of user base.

Further, if the Voice Clips delivers fruitful results in India, Facebook could launch the feature outside of India as the company is getting more serious about voice. The company is planning to launch two new smart speakers in July. Codenamed Aloha and Fiona, Facebook’s direct rival to Amazon’s Alexa will come with 15-inch touchscreen by LG.

For the past few years, the company is struggling to get people share more unique personal content instead of generic news article links or irrelevant viral links.

2017 was a strong year for Facebook, but it was also a hard one. In Facebook’s Q4 2017 earnings report, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced, ‘Already last quarter, we made changes to show fewer viral videos to make sure people’s time is well spent. In total, we made changes that reduced time spent on Facebook by roughly 50 million hours every day.’

That’s a reduction of approximately 2.14 minutes per day per user, considering Facebook now has 1.4 billion users. According to Zuckerberg that’s a five per cent reduction of the total time spent on Facebook.

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