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The new Vivox voice chat system for Facebook will allow any user to start a conversation with anyone on their friends list. The service will also be available to third-party developers who want to integrate voice into their applications. (Credit: Vivox)
Look out, Facebook users: Here comes voice chat.
Sometime in the next few weeks, the social network's tens of millions of users will begin to be able to have high-quality voice conversations, even as its third-party developers are able to start including voice in their applications.
The new technology is not being offered by Facebook itself, however. Instead, it's from Vivox, a Boston-based company that provides the integrated voice service for virtual worlds like Second Life and EVE Online, and which already has more than 15 million users worldwide.
The service, which is currently in closed beta, will allow Facebook users to have high-fidelity conversations with anyone on their friends list. Each user, however, will have to download Vivox's plug-in. But once installed, the service works almost seamlessly with Facebook, and is intended for everything from one-to-one chat to large group discussions.
Further, even non-Facebook users will be able to participate, as Vivox plans to offer free dial-in numbers that will allow anyone to call into an existing conversation, much as is possible today with call-in phone conferences.
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