- Transcription service raises questions about WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption and privacy of users’ messages
- WhatsApp says it’s a ‘long way’ from launching Transcription but ‘it will be protected by end-to-end encryption’
- This feature is optional, requiring users to allow WhatsApp to access their phone’s speech recognition software
- Your message will be sent to Apple to transcribe, ‘but not directly linked to your identity’
- In June, WhatsApp introduced Fast Playback, which lets you listen to messages at twice their recorded speed without changing the pitch
WhatsApp is working on a feature that will provide written transcription of incoming voice messages.
WABetaInfo Posted screenshots of the alleged Transcribe feature, which includes the disclaimer, that it is optional and users will need to allow the app to access their phone’s speech recognition software.
The new feature raises questions about privacy, as calls will be sent to Apple for transcription and to help Apple ‘improve its speech recognition technology’.
WhatsApp says that calls will be protected by end-to-end encryption as they ‘will not be directly linked to your identity’.
Earlier, WhatsApp users had to rely on third party apps to get the transcription.
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WhatsApp Info site WABetaInfo shares pictures of a new voice message transcription feature coming to the popular messaging app. The service is currently being developed for iOS but has no estimated launch date.
After accepting the feature, users open a new ‘Transcript’ section and can go to different timestamps to read the relevant message:
After a message is transcribed for the first time, it is saved in the WhatsApp database, so it will not need to be re-transcribed.
The feature is ‘under development’ on WhatsApp for iOS, the site says, with no word on when or if it will arrive on Android.
A WhatsApp spokesperson confirmed to DailyMail.com that the company was “in the early stages of designing and prototyping voice message transcription.”
According to the popup notification on the screenshot, messages from users will go to Apple for transcription, which will also use them “to improve its speech recognition technology”. The content of the call is secure, the company emphasizes, as ‘it will not be directly linked to your identity.’
“We are far from being able to offer this feature, but if we do roll it out, it will be protected by end-to-end encryption,” the representative said.
WhatsApp is working on time-saving services for ‘Too Long Did Not Read’ (TLDR) sets. In June, the company launched Fast Playback – a new feature that lets users increase the playback speed of audio messages If they’re in a hurry.
Fast Playback, released globally for Android and iOS, lets users change from the default 1x playback setting to 1.5x speed or even 2x speed.
When users receive an audio message, all they need to do is tap on saying ‘1x’ to increase it to 1.5x speed and tap again to increase it to 2x speed.
Faster playback speeds up the audio without changing the pitch of the sender’s voice, meaning they won’t sound like they’ve breathed in a balloon filled with helium.
Senders can also choose to hear themselves at 1.5x or 2x speed after sending their message.
for senders and recipients alike[, the option to speed up the message will appear only when they’ve pressed play.
Fast Playback, released globally for on Android and iOS in June, lets users change from the default 1x playback setting to 1.5x speed or even 2x speed.
WhatsApp said the feature will help save users time – especially considering audio messages on the platform can last more than an hour.
‘These days we need all the time-saving tips and tricks we can find,’ a WhatsApp spokesperson said in a statement. ‘Voice messages on WhatsApp are a particularly useful tool for people short on time, who are multitasking, or who have friends and family in different time zones.
‘However, it can be hard to find the time to listen to a long voice message,’ they added, ‘which is why WhatsApp has introduced Fast Playback, which speeds up the message, and reduces the time it takes to listen to your voice messages.’
WhatsApp began rolling out voice calls for its mobile app in 2015 and video calls the following year. In March 2021 it rolled out the feature for the desktop version of its chat platform on Windows PCs and Apple Macs.
Social distancing and lockdowns have seen huge increases in WhatsApp audio calls: On New Year’s Eve 2020, WhatsApp registered the most calls ever in a single day: 1.4 billion on voice and video.