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  • Kyle Chua

WeChat Now Features Voice to Text Messaging

WeChat's latest update adds a couple of long-awaited features that expand the multi-purpose super app's instant messaging capabilities.

Credit: WeChat

You've long been able to directly record and send voice messages on the app. Now, it'll also allow you to convert voice to text in case you prefer reading through your messages rather than listening to them. You can similarly have your mobile phone read the text for you after it's been converted.

The new feature is now available on both the mobile and PC versions of the WeChat app. It's a sub-function of the Care Mode that was launched last year, a mode that makes the interface friendlier for the elderly and the visually impaired. When it's enabled, the fonts are enlarged and the colour scheme is altered to make information easier to see. And with the new update, this mode can also now read messages aloud with a male voice speaking at moderate speed. You'll just have to enable the feature and click on the message.

The update additionally adds the ability to search images based on type or the text that appears on the image itself. The app supposedly analyzes the information appearing on the image and creates sub-tags that can be easily searched. It further noted that it only carries out this operation within the device itself and doesn't collect or save your picture data.

Credit: Adem AY via Unsplash

While the new features are welcome additions to the app, Chinese data company 36Kr believes there's still plenty of room for improvement in future updates. For example, there's still a gap between the pronunciation and coherence of the text-to-speech technology that the app uses. Also, there aren't other options, with the feature only having a single male voice. And that voice can sometimes sound a bit artificial and machine-like.

The image search function, meanwhile, is said to be a bit slower compared to other apps. It also comes a bit late, given how a lot of mobile phones already provided similar functionalities since a few years ago.

Then again, WeChat's supposed goal for adding these features is to make the app more accessible to many. The focus is still to keep the app simple and intuitive enough to be used by everyone, regardless of age.

  • WeChat's latest update adds a feature that lets you convert voice messages to text.

  • You can, of course, then read the converted text message or listen to it be read aloud by the artificial intelligence

  • The Chinese super app also now features an image search function, giving you the ability to search for an image based on sub-tags.

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