Twitter has rolled out support for voice direct messages on iOS and Android in India starting today, the company has announced. Android Central reports that the audio messages are now available in three countries worldwide: India, Brazil, and Japan. Plans for voice DMs were first announced last year. Twitter says the feature, which it’s calling an “experiment,” will roll out in India in phases.
In a statement, Twitter India’s managing director, Manish Maheshwari, said voice messages are designed to “give people a new way to express themselves and help them connect through the nuances, emotion, and empathy built by hearing someone’s voice.” Similar features are already available on other services like Messenger, Instagram DMs, and WhatsApp.
A video released by Twitter India shows how the feature works. Users can start recording using a small icon to the right of the message box, and voice messages can be up to 140 seconds in length. There’s an option to review a voice message before sending it. Although it isn’t possible to send voice messages from the web at the moment, browsers can reportedly still play back the audio clips.
While Twitter has traditionally been a text-based platform, it’s tested a number of audio-centric features over the last year, including audio tweets the company has been testing on iOS as well as Twitter Spaces, which are voice chat rooms similar to what Clubhouse offers. However, Twitter’s audio ambitions faced criticism for their lack of accessibility options. In response, the company announced it was setting up new accessibility teams within the company and that it would be adding automated captions to audio and video on the platform in 2021.