After launching video chat in its built-in messaging feature, aptly named Direct, earlier this summer, Facebook-owned Instagram today began rolling out voice messages.

Instagram has been testing this for at least four months.

The feature’s implementation is very similar to voice messaging capability available in Apple’s iMessage complete with how you initiate a voice recording and send it to the recipient(s).

This is how the experience of creating a voice message on Instagram looks like.

TechCrunch has the story:

Users can hold down the microphone button to record a short voice message that appears in the chat as an audio wave form that recipients can then listen to at their leisure. Voice messages are up to one-minute long, stay permanently listenable rather than disappearing and work in one-on-one and group chats on iOS and Android.

If you need to message an Instagram contact when shopping, carrying stuff or driving, doing it hands-free with voice rather than text won’t be just faster but a hell of a lot safer as well.

Naturally, voice messaging is supported by a bunch of major competing messaging platforms, including Microsoft-owned Skype, Facebook’s own WhatsApp, Rakuten’s Viber, as well as Zello, Telegram, Facebook Messenger and many others.

Voice messaging began rolling out globally on Instagram Direct today.

As with many major new feature introductions, this one appears to be a staggered release so it’s not automatically available to the entire Instagram community.

If you don’t see it live in your Instagram app, check back a few days or weeks later.

What do you think of this new Instagram capability?

Let us know by leaving a comment below.