Twitter has announced that it has finally started testing “Twitter Spaces” – its Clubhouse-style live audio chat rooms – on Android. It is currently available on iOS Beta with a host of iOS-exclusive features like voice tweets. Android users, for now, will not be able to host spaces, although they can join and talk in spaces.
While the specific date from when Android users will be able to host Spaces has not been revealed, a Twitter spokesperson said in an email that both Android and iOS users will be able to start and listen to Spaces “soon.”
The announcement does not come as a surprise, as the feature was first announced in December 2020 as a part of Twitter’s initiative to compete with Clubhouse. Its appearance from January 2021 has been limited to 3,000 iOS users and remains under testing, allowing anyone to join Spaces but restricts who can host them. Twitter has revealed that it would give Spaces to a “small feedback group,” prioritizing women and people from other marginalized groups.
In a tweet in late January Twitter had first confirmed the launch of Spaces on Android. “We’re expanding to give more people a chance to join Spaces and listen in! Rolling out over the next few days, people with Android will now be able to join, listen, and speak in conversations over Spaces,” it said in a statement. In a recent tweet by the official account of Twitter Spaces, it was revealed that another motivation of bring Spaces was because the human voice could bring a layer of connectivity to Twitter through emotion, nuance, and empathy which were often lost in the text. “We see this with voice Tweets and voice DMs. Sometimes 280 characters are not enough, and the voice gives people another way to join the conversation,” it said.
Twitter executives, announcing the launch, said that their first priority was building out moderation, noting that this is why they were taking a cautious approach to bringing out features like recording conversations, which could find fans among podcasters and monetizing Spaces, which could make the feature much more appealing to Twitter influencers.
Twitter Spaces is the latest move by Twitter to compete with Clubhouse, the invite-only social media platform on iOS and which recently crossed 10 million downloads globally, by launching more audio-focused features on its platform.
Earlier, it had rolled out voice DMs in Brazil, India, and Japan. It had introduced audio tweets on iOS last June for a limited number of users, allowing users to record and send audio messages up to 140 seconds long. Facing criticism for failing to include captions on its audio messages for its users who are deaf and hard of hearing, Twitter soon made amends by saying it would add automated captions to audio and video in tweets sometime this year.
Select Android users in the coming weeks could be lucky enough to get Spaces. “Keep an eye out for the purple aura in your fleetline and tap to join. You can also join Spaces via a link shared with you (via Tweets, DMs). People on Android can also use emoji reactions, view captions, and be invited to speak in a Space,” Twitter said. “Other updates to come include the ability to see more of who’s in your Space as well as naming your Space to add context for new joiners.” It also confirmed that this will not be restricted to any region.