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September 16, 2009 / Raffy Pekson II

Voice Chat Is Coming Soon in Facebook

Facebook’s Talking Communities Voice-Chat Room Fan Page began announcing the coming of a FREE voice-enabled chatroom. This new upcoming feature allows users to talk to friends live while playing games online, including doing karaoke. In their Beta version, Facebook users are limited to only one chat room and allows up to 5 people voice-chatting per room. Also, when launched, it will only work with Windows PCs but a Mac version is in development.

The new feature is actually being offered by a Boston-based company Vivox, the same company that provides voice services for popular game Second Life and Eve Online. This means Facebook users will have to download Vivox’s plug-in before they are voice-chat enabled. Vivox may also allow non-Facebook users to join the conversation by setting up dial-in numbers in the United States, looking at a possibility that Facebook may provide conferencing in the future. The good thing about Vivox is that they’ve already proven their technology in Second Life and Eve Online and putting it into Facebook will be less challenging. Second Life and Eve Online combines about 15 million users worldwide.

I.T guru and social media expert Chris Pirilio says in an interview with CNet’s Daniel Terdiman says that “it’s guaranteed to bite into Skype.” Others look at this new feature as a boost to retailing through Facebook, giving them voice-enabled access to prospects much like a toll free number does.

Sources: CNet News, CNN, Facebook

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