Facebook today began testing a new feature on its Messenger service, automatically transcribing voice messages sent through the service directly into text.
Announced by the Facebook’s VP of Messaging David Marcus on his Facebook page, the update is meant to be more helpful for people who enjoy sending and receiving voice messages but find themselves in situations such as a meeting where audio is less suitable to the environment (via The Next Web).
„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. So, for example, if you’re at a concert or in a meeting, and would prefer to read a voice clip from a friend, you now can if you’re part of the small test we’re rolling out.“
Marcus goes on to mention that the current plan for the update is to keep it at a „tiny scale for now“ and see how it performs in the wild. After seeing what the small scale of users think of the new feature, Facebook will decide whether to make the feature „more widely available.“
Though the Facebook Messenger app retains a low rating in the App Store due to customer complaints over the company’s continued attempt to separate individual services into various apps, it retained the top spot on 2014’s list of most downloaded apps when results were announced late last month.
Over the past several months, iTunes users in the U.K. and several other countries have noticed the availability of the welcome screen of iTunes Radio on their devices, hinting at an upcoming release.
As of today, MacRumors has had a few reports from U.K. and Australian users that have been able to access and listen to iTunes Radio on their iPhones. While some MacRumors forum members in the U.K. have been able to access the service, others say that it is not yet available for them. Similar reports are coming in on Reddit and Twitter.
It appears that most of the users that are able to access and use iTunes Radio had recently wiped and restored their devices, which suggests that iTunes Radio may be accessible after an iPhone reactivates. MacRumors is not, however, recommending that users restore their devices, and it’s not clear if this is a temporary glitch as Apple prepares for the U.K. launch.
Image courtesy of @Marcus1090
iTunes Radio, which was first announced in June at the Worldwide Developer’s Conference and later became available in September alongside the launch of iOS 7, has thus far been limited to listeners in the United States.
In October, Bloomberg suggested Apple would expand the service to Canada, the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand by early 2014, but the service has remained limited to the U.S. throughout January. While some U.K. users receiving access after a restore could indicate an imminent release, a similar situation arose back in October with some users in Canada and the U.K. temporarily able to access the service.
According to Apple’s senior vice president of Internet software and services Eddy Cue, launching iTunes Radio worldwide is a top priority for the company, with Apple ultimately aiming to have the service „in more than 100 countries.“