WhatsApp introduces major new audio features

WhatsApp is the uber-popular messaging app available on all major smartphone platforms, including iOS. With over 300 million users, it's possible that it has one of the largest followings ever. Intent on growing even bigger by adding new features, the company has introduced several audio enhancements to its app.

As AllThingsD reports, WhatsApp is launching a push-to-talk voice messaging feature that will allow people to send voice messages with a tap:

"[WhatsApp CEO Jan] Koum's contention is that WhatApp's innovation is in how simple it makes sending a voice message. He pulled out the Facebook Messenger app to show that it takes three taps to make a voice recording. With the updated WhatsApp, a user pushes to record a message rather than type one. When she lets go, the message sends. If she decides not to send, she swipes to the left and the recording is deleted. All that is built into a single tap.

"The number of taps matters. People want to send a message and be on their way," Koum said.

Additional features of the latest WhatsApp update include the removal of time limits on voice messages; volume switching -- when the phone is held at arm's length WhatsApp will increase the volume, and when it is held near the ear WhatsApp will decrease the volume; and a blue microphone icon notification that tells you when your recipient has heard their message.

WhatsApp is a free download, and the first year of service is also free. After one year, WhatsApp services costs US$0.99 annually.