WhatsApp adds unlimited voice messaging

By , Aug 7, 2013

WhatsApp 2.10.1 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 001)

WhatsApp is arguably the most popular cross-platform mobile messaging solution out there and while it currently lacks a desktop client (unlike its rival Viber), it’s just become a whole lot more useful by introducing a significant new feature: voice memos, a pet project of its CEO over the past six months.

Unlike Facebook’s Messenger iOS app that requires three taps to make a voice recording, it only takes a single tap to record and send a voice memo in WhatsApp. And no, it’s not a staggered release: the new WhatsApp with push-to-record voice messaging is available now simultaneously on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry and Nokia…

Simply push the recording button, start speaking and let go when done. To cancel the recording in progress, swipe to the left and the voice memo gets deleted.

Even better, The Mountain View, California messaging startup that employs 45 people said the new version puts no length limit on voice memos. For example, you could leave your significant other a short clip just a few seconds long, but also a five-minute video or even half an hour footage for that matter.

That’s in stark contrast with other popular messaging apps which impose pesky length limits for voice recordings. Skype Video Messages, for example, can be up to three minutes long. And Facebook’s Messenger has even shorter voice messages, up to only a minute in length.

WhatsApp (voice messaging, iPhone screenshot 001)

I like how the volume automatically switches from speaker when you hold the device a few inches away to soft when you press it against your ear.

Another nice touch: a blue microphone icon tells you when the recipient has played your voice message.

Here’s a little video WhatsApp put together.

Speaking to Liz Gannes of AllThingsD, WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum shared a few noteworthy stats:

• WhatsApp now has 300 million monthly active users
• 20 million active users across Germany, Mexico, India and Spain
• users now send 11 billion messages and receive 20 billion messages per day, up from 27 billion total in June
• 70 percent penetration across the entire population of Brunei (not even limited to residents who have smartphones) and 50 percent penetration in Hong Kong
• people now sharing 325 million photos per day via WhatsApp

Although Koum wouldn’t disclose the number of users who have paid so far, he did assure that he has no interest whatsoever to monetize users with ads.

Up next for the startup: more “media-focused” products that, according to the CEO are building on all the photos WhatsApp users are already sending.

Count me excited!

WhatsApp is free during the first year – after that, it will run you $0.99 per year.

The app can be downloaded from the App Store.

As commenters pointed out, the feature may have already been in place because the voice recording ability seems to be appearing without the need for an App Store update, so it was likely a server-side update.

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    Pole!

  • Osama Muhammed

    can i play the message before sending ?

    • Smuys

      nope

      • Osama Muhammed

        well, this sucks

      • MarcPhilippeB

        if the message is important you can still do it the other way

    • Prashant goel

      You can’t, but there’s a way around.
      You can record your message but cancel it before it’s sent and then play it !

    • mahe

      Well, you can cancel that the message is send.
      Then you can listen to it and tap the “!” next to it to send it :P

  • Pod

    Is voice messaging an alternative for audio note??
    If so I won’t update, because in audio note I can listen to what I have said before sending it, in oppose of voice messaging that sends the note spontaniously after releasing my finger.

    • Navaz Sayani

      No. Audio note is still there.

    • emal bazger

      It’s already activated no need to update.

  • Dan

    If they included video chat I’d be sold, right now I can’t see why I’d use this over google hangout

  • 7abib0

    I got this feature on my iPhone without updating WhatsApp from App Store. My version still 2.10.2

    • Pod

      You mean audio note feature??

      • 7abib0

        No I meant voice messaging. Some of my friends also got it without updating the WhatsApp.

      • Lawry

        Yes….me too, I noticed it today morning. Its there even without update

    • Nestea80

      Ditto. I didn’t update WhatsApp, and suddenly this new microphone icon appears.

      • SarmadMakhdoom

        Same here, no App Store update and this new feature appeared. I think the app has this feature already in last update but waiting for some server go ahead signal.

    • Navaz Sayani

      Me too. Got up this morning. And boom.

    • Pankaj Rana

      me too,,

  • pauleebe

    I don’t understand the point of Whats App. Interface is ugly, and all my friends have FaceTime (soon, FaceTime Audio) or iMessage.

    • http://willowwhispers.tumblr.com/ Mohamad Amin

      Some don’t have iThingies.

    • Gorgonphone

      exactly its hype for sheep

  • Janette Nuttall

    why does it not work on mine :(.. i press the voice thing an it says it cant do it right now :(

  • Gorgonphone

    call me dumb but i just dont get this app… i have text free and magic jack which let me call and text anyone for free with out them needing the same app..lol

    • Gustavo Adolfo Mirabal

      Let me enlighten you. Besides USA there are many countries in the world. However iOS is not THAT popular and people need cross platform chat services. There are places in the world where the “unlimited text messages” plans don’t exist. Believe it or not, where i live it costs $0.15 to send a regular sms. That’s why people use Whatsapp.

      Have a good day.

      • Gorgonphone

        Oh whatsapp is for imigrants ad forigners okay cool makes sense now …. Lol

  • D.

    I’d love to see something like this in the stock messages app

  • seyss

    great app

  • dpacemaker

    They will probably add video chat soon. It seems that is what people want more and more these days.

  • deborahjf

    Does the voice message get saved anywhere when u send it? And is there a way to save it when u receive it?

    • siphamandla ndlela

      What a convenient feature, I like it !!

    • sam chatila

      @deborahjf , very good question … Where do the audio notes get saved (iphone 5 ios 6) ??

  • wan haizat

    why i cant send voice message on iphone 5 ios 7 beta 6 ?