With the rising popularity of the Clubhouse app (and the many clones that followed), it was seemingly just a matter of time until Facebook announced their own take on the social audio experience.
Today, the company announced it has begun testing Live Audio Rooms, expecting they'll be available to everyone on Facebook and Messenger this summer. The test will begin inside Facebook groups, allowing the communities already in place on Facebook the chance to engage through audio. Once it comes to Messenger, it aims to provide a convenient in-app solution for friends to connect using voice alone.
"Whether it’s Filipino Cooking Group, run by a former cooking reality TV show contestant; the World Wanderlust Bucket List group, filled with travelers looking for the road less travelled; or OctoNation - The Largest Octopus Fan Club of 47,000 cephalopod enthusiasts, we hope that unlocking audio will be as inspiring and fun as Groups already are," wrote Fidji Simo, head of Facebook App, in the announcement.
The initial phase will also extend to public figures, with Simo specifically citing American football quarterback Russell Wilson, Grammy-nominated electronic music artist TOKiMONSTA, artist and director Elle Moxley, and five-time Olympic medalist and entrepreneur Nastia Liukin as part of the rollout.
In addition to the Live Audio Rooms, Facebook also announced it will be introducing new audio technology, such as speech-to-text and voice morphing tools, to make sound recording more high-quality, fun and engaging; Soundbites for social audio clips (think "stories"); in-platform podcasting; and monetisation opportunities, including an audio creator fund to support new and emerging creators in the space.