Facebook bringing audio chats and podcasts to Android this summer — maybe before Clubhouse

Facebook Live Audio Rooms
Facebook Live Audio Rooms (Image credit: Facebook)

What you need to know

  • Facebook announced that it's launching a suite of audio products to put its own spin on the Clubhouse app.
  • The new features include audio-only Rooms, podcasts, and audio clips on social feeds.
  • The new features are currently in development and will launch within the next few months.

Copying TikTok is so last year, and now all the social media platforms have moved over to the next big thing: Clubhouse. Given that the popular Clubhouse app is still not available on the best Android phones, Facebook has an opportunity to fill the void. The company already teased its plans to create its own version of the app and has even started testing a new Clubhouse-like Q&A service aimed at professionals. In a blog post on Monday, the company has just announced a suite of new audio features that it plans to launch soon.

The first is the more obvious Clubhouse clone called Live Audio Rooms that the company plans to integrate into the main Facebook app and eventually Messenger. The feature will first launch as part of Facebook Groups, bringing the "new" form of discourse to the millions of active communities. According to illustrations, the feature will look and function similarly to Clubhouse with speakers, audience members, and reactions.

With Live Audio Rooms in Groups, Facebook hopes to bring monetization opportunities to hosts and public figures. Viewers will be able to send Stars to hosts as a form of tipping while also being able to donate to their causes. Eventually, the company hopes to allow hosts to charge for their sessions or even set up subscriptions. The feature will also come to the Messenger app for more personal audio chats with friends.

Source: Facebook (Image credit: Source: Facebook)

Facebook is also bringing audio features to its social feed. The Soundbites feature will be added as a new addition to Facebook's already vast selection of media options when creating a new post. The company plans to include voice-to-text capabilities thanks to AI, making the feature more accessible to persons with hearing disabilities. Users will be able to play around with voice morphing and even add background music to their Soundbites, which can help add to the tone of your clip.

Facebook will begin testing Soundbites with a small group of users, including public figures like comedian Drew Lynch, entrepreneur Toby Nwigwe, and blind motivational speaker Molly Burke. The company is also launching the Audio Creator Fund to help early adopters and creators grow while testing the feature.

Lastly, Facebook is bringing podcasts to its platform. Given the growing popularity of podcasts on platforms like Spotify, it's no surprise that this is among the audio features Facebook wants to focus on. Users can get recommendations to podcasts based on their interests and will be able to listen to them directly from the Facebook app, even while it's in the background.

Facebook is working to bring all of its audio features together to work as seamlessly as possible. For instance, hosts can turn conversations from Live Audio Rooms into podcasts, and users can share snippets as Soundbites on their social feeds. Accessibility is also a focus, and captions will be available for all of these features. While there's no set release for these features, Facebook hopes to launch them sometime this summer. Until then, both Android and iOS users can use Twitter Spaces get the Clubhouse experience.

Derrek Lee
News Editor

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.