Instagram just launched a fun, new ‘walkie-talkie’ feature: Here’s how to use it
Remember those days when Instagram only allowed you to post 10 second long videos? And you could not even send messages to your friends as you can today. And the logo was good old brown? Those days are way in the past now. Instagram has since developed so much as a brand and is launching its own products.
Instagram launched a new direct messaging walkie-talkie feature globally Monday, meaning you can now send personalized love ballads to your favorite celebrity (looking at you, Drake). The voice messages, which you can send to your friends or anyone with open DMs on Instagram, can be recorded for up to one minute and are stored permanently in both one-on-one or group direct messages. Unlike Instagram Stories, they won’t automatically disappear after a set period of time. The move comes just six months after the social media company released its video-calling feature, which competes against similar offerings from Snapchat and Facebook Messenger.
The launch deepens Facebook’s entry into the voice market. From its first voice messaging and VOIP features back in 2013 to its new voice control system Aloha that works on its recently launched Portal video chat screen, Facebook has long taken an interest in the accessibility of voice, but only got serious about building it across its products in 2018. Along with Instagram video calling, today’s launch raises the question of whether Portal and Instagram will team up. That could make Portal more useful… but also risks making Instagram less cool by tightening its ties to Facebook.
Instagram’s new walkie-talkie feature is basically as intuitive as most of the other voice-messaging features from popular messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, Zello. Here’s how to use it: Open up Instagram and go into direct messages. Select the person you want to voice message, and at the bottom, there will be an icon of what looks like a 1960s microphone. Hold down the icon to record a message. You can also swipe up to the lock symbol to record without needing to hold down the button or swipe left to cancel. Releasing the icon automatically sends your voice message, though you can swipe to the left to send the recording to trash if you stutter — so be ready.
Users can hold down the microphone button to record a short voice message that appears in the chat as an audio waveform 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.
And there you have it. Just keep in mind that the message — whether it be a happy birthday rendition to a friend or a voice message sent to your ex — will forever live on in the app. You can delete the record of it from your phone, but there’s no way to retrieve an already-sent voice message once it’s delivered.
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.
You can also use the feature by simply tapping on the messaging icon, holding it to your ear, and once you hear a beep, recording your message. Once you are done, hit the arrow or send button. Voice messages can be heard either on the phone’s main speaker or through your phone’s earpiece.