Earlier this week we got word from SXSW that the first app from Google’s startup incubator Area 120 was live, but limited to the iOS app store. Thankfully, it didn’t take long for the first one to pop up in the Play Store, and wouldn’t you know it, it’s another messaging app.
Called Supersonic Fun Voice Messenger, the cross-platform app distinguishes itself by dispensing with the keyboard and forcing you to dictate your texts. It’s a bit like a modern spin on the walkie-talkie. As you speak, your words are automatically converted into text and any relevant emojis, so you can talk like a 12-year-old even if you can’t tell the difference between the grimacing and grinning emoji. Messages are delivered in real time, so there’s no editing, even if it picks an emoji you don’t exactly understand.
On the other end, friends can either read what was transcribed or listen to what you said. Messages disappear after they’ve been heard, and as the name implies, it’s designed to be extremely casual, so you probably won’t be sending any Supersonic messages to your boss. Messages can be sent to individuals or groups, though you’ll need to get your friends on board with the Supersonic app to get started.
In our limited testing, the voice recognition was spot on, though the emojis could be undecipherable at time. For example, I dictated, “This is a test of Supersonic Fun Voice Messenger on my Google Pixel phone,” and you can see the results in the image above by looking at the last message on the right side. However, the audio option should clear up any confusion, and it could make for some fun Rebus puzzles.
There aren’t too many settings in the app, but it does take emoji suggestions into account. For example, if you think it should display a money mouth emoji instead of a money bag when you say the word “cash,” you can suggest it to the app’s developers. Additionally, you can choose to have new messages auto-play as they are received and select whether messages are played through the main speaker or the phone receiver.
New hear this: On the surface, Supersonic Fun Voice Messenger is a silly vanity project made by Google employees with some extra time on their hands, but there are some interesting things at play here. The walkie-talkie concept is an interesting spin on quick messaging, and the emoji component, while certainly not for everyone, adds a fun bit of levity to conversations. It’s a feature we could see making its way into a future version of Allo.