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Facebook adds voicemail to Messenger with VoIP in testing

Facebook has rolled out updates to its iOS and Android Messenger apps with an added option to record and send voice messages.

"Send a quick voice message when you have more to say," Facebook said. To activate, click the compose button as you would for a text-based message, but tap the '+' button to the left of the message body. The option to 'Record Voice' will appear below, next to Attach a Photo and Camera. Tap that and a red, record button will appear; touch and hold to talk. Release to send, or slide off the button to cancel.

The social network has even grander plans for Messenger up its sleeve. In the next few weeks, Facebook will enable VoIP calling, according to the app description, which will tap in to your phone's data plan rather than voice minutes.

According to The Next Web, Facebook is currently testing the service with Canadian iOS users.

Functioning essentially as a voicemail service, the new service will allow for hands-free messaging while driving, a feature that Apple's Siri already provides.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The biggest obstacle, as The Verge pointed out, is convincing people to drop their carrier phone numbers and trust Facebook with phone calls.

Facebook's standalone Messenger application hit app stores in August 2011, intended to simplify the process of sending and receiving messages among friends and small groups via notifications and texts.

The app update is currently available for free in the iTunes App Store and Google Play.