You can now send voice messages in Google Chat — and this could make things awkward

Google Chat on a laptop screen
(Image credit: / monticello)

Keeping in touch with friends and colleagues could soon be even easier after Google Chat revealed it'll now support voice messages.

The instant messaging tool, part of Google Workspace, has until now been entirely text and image-based, but hopes that the addition of voice messages will ensure that Google Chat becomes "a useful tool for seamless communication".

The feature will initially launch on mobile devices, with both Android and iOS supported, with Google adding it has plans for a web launch soon.

Google Chat voice messages

Recording a voice message is as simple as tapping the microphone icon in a chat window, with users able to preview their message before sending, before being able to choose whether to send or delete it.

Users will be able to send voice messages on mobile devices, (to direct messages, group chats and spaces) and receive them on iOS and Android, with web support 'coming soon'.

In a Google Workspace Updates blog post announcing the feature, the company noted, "sending a voice message instead of typing enables you to save time, convey more information, and emphasize the most important information for the message receiver."

It added that the "highly requested" feature will be on by default for users, but can be disabled, and that voice messages can be quoted, reacted to, and replied to in a thread, much like a text message.

The feature will be available to Google Workspace users with Enterprise Essentials, Enterprise Essentials Plus, Enterprise Standard or Enterprise Plus.

Google Chat has not had a lot of love from its maker in recent months, but did reveal a significant update in August 2023 to improve interoperability between it and rival services like Slack and Microsoft Teams.

That move should benefit larger organizations, which typically use more than one messaging service internally, not to mention others used for external communications with customers and clients, which Google says can be a major cause for conversation silos.

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Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.