A day after Clubhouse announced that it will be launching the Android version of its insanely popular audio-only chatting service, Facebook Inc. has revealed that the testing for its own audio suite, known as Live Audio Rooms, which it had announced a while back as a potential competitor to Clubhouse, has finally begun.
The trials will be carried out through a limited handful of public figures, at least for now.
Clubhouse has been enjoying a massive following ever since its launch in 2020, a time when people were cut off from each other due to the pandemic. Now, Facebook seems to be trying to come up with its own twist to the informal (of yet, ironically, invite-only) atmosphere Clubhouse is known for. The likes of Elon Musk, and even Mark Zuckerberg himself, have reported enjoying using the app service, which, till now, was only available for iOS users.
The testing is currently underway in Taiwan, with many creators and public figures being part of the trials. The social media biggie seeks to greatly expand its audio platform, as CEO Mark Zuckerberg aims to launch podcast creation and hosting tools in the future.
Live Audio Rooms was announced back in April, as part of the brand new and updated audio suite being put forward by the company. The feature will be focused on group voice conversations, much like its counterpart, Clubhouse. The service is currently under trial in Taiwan, and will gradually be expanded to other regions and apps, including the main Facebook app, as well as the subsidiary app, Messenger.
For now, Facebook has announced that the tests will be limited to only a select few public figures, even as it plans to make Live Audio Rooms accessible to Facebook Groups soon. Another interesting addition to the platform will be Stars feature, which will allow people buy tokens to provide support to their favorite public figures and idols. In thus sense, Live Audio Rooms might also end up becoming a parallel of sorts to Twitch, the popular livestreaming and podcasting platform.
This wouldn’t be the first time that Facebook has quickly come up with a product to rival the market share of its contemporaries and competitors. The most important additions include the Stories feature to rival Snapchat. Closer, Reels were announced only some time back, as a possible alternative to TikTok.
If all goes well with its new audio suite, Facebook will soon be moving in the direction of making podcasts possible on its main platform. Playback will be integrated directly into the app, a first as podcast pages on the platform continue to get more followers. New shows will also be recommended, based on user interests. Users will even have the option to make recommendations to fellow users. This comes a few days after the company had announced Soundbites, shareable audio clips, containing anything and everything from anecdotes to jokes.