Linden Lab Delaying Voice In Second Life For 'A Few Months' - InformationWeek

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5/22/2007
08:31 PM
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
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Linden Lab Delaying Voice In Second Life For 'A Few Months'

In an abrupt turnaround, Linden Lab, which develops and operates Second Life, says it'll be "a few months" before voice is available in the service. Until very recently, Linden Lab was saying voice would be available tomorrow (Wednesday).

In an abrupt turnaround, Linden Lab, which develops and operates Second Life, says it'll be "a few months" before voice is available in the service. Until very recently, Linden Lab was saying voice would be available tomorrow (Wednesday).

Linden Lab has been testing the service for some time on an area of Second Life called the "beta grid." We tried it out last week and loved it.

The current plan, according to a company spokesman:

"Linden Lab's plan is to continue to develop additional voice features on the beta grid for a few weeks still." At that point, it may choose to go into beta2 phase, releasing a "First Look viewer" that will allow users to optionally try out voice on the main area of the service, called the "main grid" in Second Life jargon. While the First Look viewer is available, Second Life users would be able to continue to use the regular client software, which is not voice-enabled.

During beta2, voice will only be available on some parts of the main grid, with more regions added over time "until the entire grid is 'lit up' for voice." Second Life's third-party content providers -- known as "land owners" in Second Life -- may choose to disable voice in the areas they control.

Linden Lab has been saying for a while now that voice was due to roll out tomorrow. They said that most recently as five days ago, when we interviewed company CTO Cory Ondrejka. He said the May 23 date is a "target" and voice would be available then "if everything comes right."

Linden Lab didn't come out and say the service was delayed until I got an e-mail from the spokesman at 4:30 p.m. PDT today. However, I started scratching my head when I saw a post on the official Second Life blog time-stamped 12:17 p.m. today announcing maintenance downtime tomorrow, with no mention of voice in Second Life.. A more in-depth post on the same subject three hours later also includes no mention of voice.

Slap on the wrist to Linden Lab for releasing the news in this fashion. Guys, if you're going to delay a major feature, just announce it. Don't release a laundry list of other features you are announcing, and leave it to the Second Life community to -- literally -- fill in the blanks. Harrumph.

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