Applications and Tools, Second Life

Second Life to Add Voice Morphing Controls, Voice Mail and Avatar Phone Numbers

If there was one thing I wished for Second Life voice it would be for a higher fidelity of sound - every week we struggle on Metanomics with the audio, sometimes slip over to Skype for better quality, or sometimes get lucky and find that voice is fine. Many times, it’s an issue of the user’s head-set, but at other times it’s the quality of voice in SL itself.

So while I’m hoping for improved quality, Second Life is adding - well, cartoon voices.

Venture Beat today reports that Linden Lab will be launching new voice features that include avatar phone numbers:

“Kingdon said Second Life residents will be able to receive real world calls in the virtual world in a service dubbed AvaLine. The company’s Dial an Avatar function assigns residents of Second Life a phone number that enables friends to call from a landline, cell phone, or VOIP application. The service is available as a beta test today and will launch formally by the end of the second quarter.”

In addition, you’ll be able to modify your voice to suit your character, and, a real bonus, be able to RECORD group chats:

“In the second half of the year, Linden Lab will also add the ability for residents of Second Life to morph their voices. They can disguise their voices or make them sound comical. Users can make their voices sound like a “French woman” or a “sports announcer” among other voices.

Users will also be able to send text messages from inside Second Life to mobile phones outside the world. And users will also be able to record the VOIP conversations they have in the world. Lastly, by 2010, the company will launch the ability to have group chats in the virtual world. The services will cost money, but Kingdon said the company isn’t ready to announce rates yet. As for live video conferencing, that isn’t coming soon.”

Virtual World News also picks up the story, giving a break-down of the voice packages that will be available to residents per the Lab’s press release:

AvaLine: Assigns residents a Second Life phone number (via an extension), enabling friends and business associates to call directly from a landline, cell phone or VOIP application. Users can opt in for either a monthly or annual contract, although for the next six weeks, the service will be free to the first 1,000 residents who join the beta (visit the Second Life blog for details). Monthly and annual fee has yet to be determined. Full rollout due prior to the end of June.

SLim: SLim is a one-to-one text and voice application that enables residents to interact with other Second Life users without needing to open their viewer. Available before the end of the first half of the year.

Voice Fonts: Slated to be sold in packs of five, the voice fonts “extend the fantasy element of virtual worlds,” says Linden Lab. Miller says to expect dozens of fonts to be available at launch, with hundreds available shortly after. Pricing has yet to be determined. Available sometime during the second half of the year.

SMS Out: This will enable residents to send SMS messages from SLim to any phone outside of the virtual world. Available sometime during the second half of the year.

Client-side Recording: Targeted at enterprise customers and educators, this option will enable residents to record voice conversations for playback at a later time. Available sometime during the second half of the year.

RP will never be the same once voice morphing spreads. I kind of shudder to think. But avatar phone numbers and a record feature are incredible additions, and put Second Life up with Skype as one of the largest on-line voice networks in the world today.


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