Last week we wrote about Facebook’s new Podcasts feature and how it will likely be rolling out this week. As it turns out the wait is not too long, as the company has kicked off the week by debuting the Podcasts feature alongside its Clubhouse-cloning Live Audio Rooms tools. The debut carries a caveat, however, with those in the United States and using an iOS device having access for now.
In a blog post Facebook explained that the Live Audio Rooms is being opened up to a selected number of users and groups in the US, with the ability to create their won audio spaces. That said, you join and listen in regardless of whether you have an iOS or Android device, as we await word on when access will be opened up to other parts of the world and indeed the Google-based mobile operating system.
“Public figures and select Facebook Groups in the US can create Live Audio Rooms on iOS, and select podcasts will be available to listeners in the US. In the coming weeks, we’ll expand the ability for more public figures and Groups to host a Live Audio Room and introduce new features for both experiences in the coming months,” the company noted.
Such a rollout strategy is not uncommon, with Clubhouse doing something similar too.
“Public figures can invite friends, followers, verified public figures, or any listeners in the room to be a speaker. The host can invite speakers in advance or during the conversation. There can be up to 50 speakers, and there’s no limit to the number of listeners,” the post adds.
“In Groups, admins can control whether moderators, group members or other admins can create a Live Audio Room. In public Groups, both members and visitors can listen to the Live Audio Room, but in private Groups, only members can listen,” it continues.
Discovery of Live Audio Rooms will exist within the News Feed for now, with users also capable of setting a notification for when a Room they are interested in goes live.
Facebook is promising a Live Audio Room for almost every conceivable topic or interest moving forward, so it will be interesting to see which audio invite-only chat platform will be the more popular six months down the line.
Shifting to the Podcasts element of today’s announcement and it is a little more straightforward, with a select number of podcasts being available to access for now, before it is opened up to the larger Facebook community in coming months.
“People can listen to podcasts while browsing Facebook, via a miniplayer or full-screen player experience with playback options, including with their phone display turned off. People can listen to select podcast creators on their Facebook Pages, as well as in News Feed,” the company pointed out.
“Later this summer, we’ll roll out additional features, like captions and the ability to create and share short clips of a podcast. Over time, we’ll build more unique social experiences around podcasts that make use of Facebook’s best interactive and personalized features,” it concluded.
It therefore looks like Facebook’s audio product focus for 2021 is taking shape.