Open source chat app Element gets audio messages and revamped VoIP

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Open source chat app Element, which is based on Matrix, has received functionality for sending audio messages. In addition, calling via voip has been renewed with a new design and screen sharing via web and the desktop app.

Element is getting support for sending audio messages in the most recent version of the apps for web and desktop, iOS and Android. That works the same way as sending audio messages in WhatsApp, via a microphone icon to the right of the text box in the app. On iOS and Android, the audio files get animated waveforms.

The new feature, which is a much requested feature according to the company Element, was created based on a recent addition to the Matrix protocol. It presents mono files with a sample rate of 48kHz and a bitrate of 24kB/s.

On mobile, the microphone button can be used in two ways: either press it to instantly send an audio message, or drag it up and pin it for longer messages. The latter can be listened to before sending. The feature for sending audio messages already worked on iOS, but it has also been revised with new buttons and animations.

New design

In addition to audio messaging, Element has also revised 1-on-1 conversations via native voip in the app. Voip has been redesigned and will have the option to share screen in the web and desktop app. Part of the new design is that users can see if a caller is on mute and how long a call lasts, and users can pause a call. The user interface has also been redesigned on mobile.

Furthermore, Element has added changes to the chat window, which makes it clearer whether a message has been sent and read. In addition, blurhash sends a blurry thumbnail of an image before the full image is loaded. As a result, a user with a slow connection no longer sees a large white area in the chat conversation before the actual image has been loaded.

Element also added minor changes to the way answers and images are displayed, and several elements have been moved in the chat window, including the download button and the settings menu. On iOS, DMs and Rooms are also simplified.

Recently, the company Element behind the app of the same name and behind the development of chat protocol Matrix received another 30 million dollars for the development of Matrix and the app. That money would be invested in, among other things, P2P Matrix, native decentralized E2EE voip and video conferencing for Matrix and Element.

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