After seeing the massive response that users gave to the audio-social media app Clubhouse, how could Facebook possibly resist making one of its own? Announcing a bevy of new tools and features on Monday, Facebook confirmed that it will soon be coming up with a feature called Live Audio Rooms, which will stand as a major competitor to Clubhouse.
On Monday, the company announced multiple products that will prospectively emphasize voice content over text, images, or video. The products will be released over the next few months and, in some cases, will start with a limited set of people. The feature called Live Audio Rooms will be available this summer. It’ll first roll out to groups and public figures as a test, but it will eventually make its way to Messenger, too, so people can hang out with friends. Users will be able to record their conversations and distribute them, and eventually, people can charge for access to these rooms through either a subscription or one-time fee.
In its audio-obsessed blog post, Facebook wrote, “At Facebook, we’ve seen the continuing rise of audio on our platforms, from audio calls to audio messages on WhatsApp and Messenger. We’re working to make audio messages easier to record, and more fun — including the ability for people to send familiar sound clips to their friends that range from sound effects like crickets chirping to quotes from popular songs. But we know there are more social experiences to create to help people say what they want to say, discover new voices they haven’t heard before, or exchange ideas at the speed of sound.”
The company will now make available an audio creation tool directly inside the Facebook app, through which users will be able to use music from Facebook’s Sound Collection in the background of their story to set the tone. This will also feature the ability to mix audio tracks, a growing collection of sound effects, voice effects, and filters. These audio creation tools will enable users to create Soundbites — short-form, creative audio clips for capturing anecdotes, jokes, moments of inspiration, poems, and many other things we haven’t yet imagined.
Furthermore, within the next few months, you’ll be able to listen to podcasts directly on the Facebook app — both while using the app or when the app is backgrounded. And because it’s still hard to discover podcasts you like, we will help you easily find new podcasts and episodes based on your interests, comment on them, and recommend them to your friends. And podcast creators will be able to reach and connect with new listeners — all directly within the Facebook app.