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This article was published on September 13, 2021

WhatsApp’s upcoming transcribe feature lets you ‘read’ voice notes

Silent life

WhatsApp’s upcoming transcribe feature lets you ‘read’ voice notes
Ivan Mehta
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Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

We all have friends who insist on sending you voice notes on WhatsApp all the time. My colleague Thomas, who hates that behavior, loves the fast playback option.

But what if I don’t want to listen to them at all? I could be in a meeting or out in a cafe where it might be difficult to listen to those. Or I might be in a mood to listen to no human voices (unless it’s Alex Turner).

WhatsApp might be building a new transcribe feature for such situations. WABetaInfo has found out that the Facebook-owned app is working on that feature on iOS.

If you choose to transcribe a message, the app will ask you to access Apple’s speech recognition services. All the processing is done on your device, so no data is sent to WhatsApp or Facebook server, and that’s reassuring for privacy reasons. You wouldn’t want Zuck, to listen to your 10-minute rants about football and nosy neighbors.

WhatsApp transcription
WhatsApp transcription feature on iOS.

Once you transcribe a message, the data will be stored locally, so you wouldn’t need to process it again. This is handy if a colleague of yours has sent an interview or a meeting’s recording on WhatsApp.

WABetaInfo mentioned that there’s no information about this feature landing on Android at the moment.

Nonetheless, on iOS, this feature is under development. So it might take a while for it to roll out publically. In any case, I’m kinda excited for a voice-free experience on WhatsApp.

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