I frankly don’t know how to react to a piece of news such as this. In a few weeks time Facebook users can have voice chat and app developers can include voice enabled functions within them. The feature however is not developed by Facebook, rather by Vivox a company providing Integrated Voice services online. The service is currently in closed beta.
Not Knowing How to React
I personally wouldn’t use the system, for one I find the concept annoying, and secondly I have been lazy enough to keep my primary workstation free of a mike. Of course, I am not the best sample for survey by any means, but I’d rather believe a lot of people are like me if it left to beliefs. So on a personal level the news doesn’t add anything of mighty value to me.
However, I am excited by the whole new level of communications that this feature can deliver on a platform as big as Facebook.
The service works with a Vivox plugin and some of its salient features are:
- High fidelity chat with anyone in one’s friendlist
- Even non-Facebook users will be able to participate
- Its technology will be available to any third-party Facebook application developer
There are obviously two school of thoughts running on this development, those who think it is about time it happened and that the receptionw ould be tremendous, and the other who think the scope is wide though adoption might be slow to begin with. A major drawback if at all for this service would be the fact that it is not a Facebook product and Facebook itself wouldn’t do much to promote it.
Chris Pirillo in fact added an interesting twist to the feature and thought if it as an important step in de-cluttering the FB eco system.
For Pirillo, the Vivox system will provide a valuable incentive for Facebook users to streamline their friends lists since it’s likely that they won’t want to be getting voice chat invites from people they’ve friended but might know only peripherally. “When these tools come about,” Pirillo said, “it becomes less valuable (to have too many friends) and actually promotes a cleaner ecosystem.” (Source CNET)
The scope for this service might probably lie outside of it. Especially merging features such as dial in number and third party use. A number of apps can use this to their advantage to promote specific usage among users. Facebook can be the default voice system to many instead using other services online. Social interactions on the website can increase manifold, “Login with your Facebook ID to talk to our customer care,” for instance can be an excellent way to use this feature.
Vivox on its part though hasn’t mentioned a proper monetization plan, except for ascertaining that their system is capable of handling Facebook’s mammoth size. It has already provided the service for Second Life and EVE Online and caters to nearly 15 million users worldwide.