Google Chat finally gets voice message support, but with a big caveat

Google just announced a significant upgrade for its Google Chat app, with the introduction of voice messages on mobile devices. This a highly anticipated feature that has been present in other chat applications for some time.

There are times when typing out a message simply isn’t the most efficient option, and this is where voice messages have come in to fill that gap. Using voice messages, particularly when on the go, offer several advantages. Aside from the obvious time-saving benefits, voice messages can also be extremely helpful when the nuances and tone of the message are important to keep intact. Additionally, for users with limited dexterity or visual impairments, voice messages can be a crucial accessibility tool.

Although a bit late to the party, it’s good to see this feature being added to Chat, but Google isn’t stopping there. The company also promises that transcription for voice messages will also be added and will be rolling out to users in the coming months. This powerful addition will make voice messages searchable and allow for easier consumption by users who prefer reading over listening.

Users will be able to send and receive voice messages to direct messages, group chats, and spaces within the Google Chat Android and iOS apps. The ability to receive voice messages will also work on the web, but sending will not be possible through a browser just yet. There is also a huge caveat: This is a Google Workspace feature that will only be available to paid Enterprise users, specifically those on the Enterprise Essentials, Enterprise Essentials Plus, Enterprise Standard, and Enterprise Plus tiers. This makes the feature’s availability very limited, and we hope this eventually trickles down across all accounts.

For the lucky ones who will get this feature, the process will be pretty straightforward: Open a direct message, group chat, or space, tap on the microphone icon, start speaking, and press send. Once sent, voice messages function just like text-based messages, allowing for quotes, reactions, and threaded replies.

The enterprise rollout will happen gradually, with domains on the Rapid Release track getting the feature as early as March 26th, with a two-week window before it reaches all users. The Scheduled Release track will follow on April 15th, with the same two-week window until completion.

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