Instagram is playing around with a new function that will essentially allow users to send voice notes to one another in a feature the social media app is calling walkie talkie.

It’s not rolling out officially at this stage, but it is being tested out on the Instagram Direct platform.

As with a similar option in WhatsApp, users will be able to record messages by pressing a button in the Instagram app and then sending it along to one of their contacts.

Messages can be one minute long, so no long prose, but they will remain permanently listenable. Added to this is the ability to work in both one-on-one and group chats, as well as being made available on iOS and Android in coming days.

This new voice message feature now complements the voice calling option that Instagram debuted in June this year.

As such it now gives popular social media app a viable comms option to rival that of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram and Viber. Whether it proves more popular than those other apps remains to be seen, as is the fact about how walkie talkie will increase use time on the app.

To watch walkie talkie in action, TechCrunch has done a short demo of the new app’s feature here.

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.