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Facebook is testing a voice-to-text feature for incoming messages

Facebook is testing out a new feature for its Messenger app that lets recipients of voice messages convert them into text.

Like many messaging apps on the market, Messenger already offers voice clips alongside the more common text-based option for communicating with friends. But as Facebook VP of messaging products David Marcus pointed out in a recent post, sometimes you might prefer to read your friend’s message rather than listen to it.

Explaining the development in his post, Marcus wrote, “As many of you know, we already offer a feature that enables people to send voice clips to their friends without having to type out the text.

“Today we are starting to roll out a small test that helps people read the voice clips they receive instead of having to play them out loud.”

Marcus say that if you’re at “a concert or in a meeting, and would prefer to read a voice clip from a friend,” the new feature makes it possible.

He added that for now it’s being tested on a “tiny” scale though once its developers have evaluated the initial feedback, and are confident the technology works effectively, it’s likely to be made more widely available.

Marcus’s announcement comes soon after the social networking giant revealed it’d acquired Wit.ai, a startup specializing in voice recognition technology.

While it’s likely too early for Wit.ai to have had any input in Messenger’s latest feature, no doubt the newly acquired talent will soon be working on ways to improve it.

Messenger currently has more than 500 million users, though its decision last year to separate the messaging tool from its main Facebook app irked a good many users of the social networking site.