LinkedIn has been trying to make its business networking platform more like Facebook of late, with features like presence, and Google-like smart replies. Now, it's introducing voice messages just like Facebook and Facebook-owned WhatsApp.
"Whether you're responding while walking or multitasking, or need to give an in-depth explanation, voice messages let you more easily and quickly communicate in your own voice with your connections," LinkedIn said in a blog.
Personally, I loathe having to open voice messages on WhatsApp and have never received one on Facebook Messenger, but for the sender, at least, such services can be helpful if they're on the go and can't stop to type a message. And that's LinkedIn's justification for releasing the feature.
LinkedIn thinks its new option will be a time-saver for users who find typing laborious in some situations. On the downside, this feature could rapidly become a real pain for those who already get bombarded with written messages from strangers promoting products and services on LinkedIn Messages.
LinkedIn points out that people speak about four times faster than they type and that it's helpful when you're on the go and need to explain complex ideas that could be more difficult to type and edit.
Also, it argues that leaving a message can be more convenient for the recipient who can listen and respond when they get a chance; obviously, the same can be said of a written message, which has the added benefit of being able to be previewed in a lockscreen notification.
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Finally, LinkedIn contends that voice allows users to be more naturally expressive, making it "easier for your tone and personality to come through, which can sometimes get lost in translation in written communications."
The voice icon layout looks similar to the one used by Facebook Messenger. Users can tap the microphone icon and then tap and hold the microphone in the circle to record the voice message. Lifting the finger off the circle ends the message. Users can also cancel the message by sliding the finger away from the microphone icon while holding it down.
Messages can be received on the web and mobile and will be rolling out global over the next few weeks.
Microsoft bought LinkedIn in 2016 for $26.2bn and while it's often criticized by users irked by requests to connect from strangers, the professional social network brought in about $5bn of its $110bn revenues for Microsoft in fiscal year 2018. At Microsoft's recent earnings announcement it claimed to have 575 million members.
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