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Voice Chat Coming To Facebook

As if web surfers didn't spend enough time on social websites as it is, apparently now there's more reason to kill time on Facebook, as Vivox--which provides voice chat for Second Life and EVE Online-- is bringing its online voice chat technology to America's popular social destination. The service voice chat service won't be offered as an official application from Facebook itself, and isn't expected to go public until sometime in Q4 2009.

According to the company, Facebook users will need to download Vivox'a plug-in. Once installed, the software will enable Facebook users to have high-fidelity conversations with anyone on their friends list. Facebook users can chat with friends one-on-one or have virtual online class reunions. "Vivox Web Voice for Facebook is designed to provide a simple way to get a group talking," the company said. "In addition to the core app, Vivox is working with developers to integrate custom voice capabilities into their applications."

In addition to the Facebook plug-in, Vivox is also working on Pluggable.com, a website for World of Warcraft players creating pick-up groups (PUGs) with voice chat, character data, and boss tactics. According to the company, the website will assemble both character and instant data from the game so that "players can easily build a complementary team." Vivox said that once the PUG is set, players can use the company's browser plug-in to chat with each other.

Many have praised the new voice chat system for Facebook. "It is about time," said social media expert Chris Pirillo. "I guarantee you this is going to bite into Skype. When these tools come about, it becomes less valuable (to have too many friends) and actually promotes a cleaner ecosystem." He believes that the chat system may actually streamline Facebook friends lists.