Another day, another test at Facebook HQ. This time, it’s voice commands for chat and calls on Facebook Messenger.
Last week social media feature-spotter Jane Manchun Wong found a new voice commands feature within the code for Facebook Messenger’s app on Android. Soon after she spotted it, TechCrunch reported on it and confirmed that “Facebook is internally testing the voice command” feature.
A Facebook spokesperson commented: “We often experiment with new experiences on Messenger with employees. We have nothing more to share at this time.”
Wong’s screenshots of the feature reveal an M Assistant button at the top of a Messenger message thread that when tapped brings voice control to functionalities like sending messages, creating reminders and starting calls.
Facebook Messenger Voice Assistant UI pic.twitter.com/DOMe4Nsg7v
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) August 21, 2018
In his report of the feature, TechCrunch’s Josh Constine explains that “Facebook Messenger was previously spotted testing speech transcription as part of the Aloha voice assistant believed to be part of Facebook’s upcoming Portal video chat screen device. But voice commands in the M assistant are new, and demonstrate an evolution in Facebook’s strategy.”
He’s referring to Messenger’s David Marcus discussing, back in 2016, that voice “is not something [Facebook] is actively working on right now.” This is inaccurate because apparently there has been a shift in that direction.
With this test, we have a clear indication that voice will most probably be part of Messenger’s new “simpler” design which is on its way.