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Innovation

Second Life gets a voice; Slashdot adds social news features; Pandora lands on Facebook; Digg vs Netscape (redux)

The social web weekly: a quick-fire roundup of some of the news, announcements and conversations that have occurred throughout the week…
Written by Steve O'Hear, Contributor on

The social web weekly: a quick-fire roundup of some of the news, announcements and conversations that have occurred throughout the week…

  • Second Life gets a voice. Although is has been available in Beta form for a few months, voice capability is now part of the main Second Life viewer (the virtual world's desktop client). The new voice feature bring audio chat to Second Life and is able to distinguish between avatars which are in a user's immediate proximity, and those that are further away. When the Beta was first announced, I noted that it would welcomed by users and would be particularly useful for in-world events, such as seminars and conferences. At the same time, I suggested that Linden Lab might be better off working on stability issues rather than putting a further strain on their servers. However, it turns out that voice will be hosted on separate servers: "Many Residents have expressed concern and confusion as to why voice would be released when Second Life periodically has performance issues. Voice is intentionally designed to run on systems completely independent from Second Life as not to impair performance."
  • Slashdot adds social news features. The Slashdot Firehose is a way for users of the tech news site to participate in the Slashdot editorial process. Users able to see all the content submitted to Slashdot and vote on those entries. The new system also appears to provide a good level of accountability (which, at times, seems lacking from Digg): "Better yet, when you make these choices you can help further refine your decision by clarifying why you made the choice you did. You can tell us if a story was binspam, or a dupe, or insightful."
  • Pandora lands on Facebook. My favorite Internet radio and music discovery service, Pandora, has launched a Facebook app. "By adding Pandora to your Facebook account you'll be able to: create, listen to, and share personalized stations; populate your Facebook profile with your favorite stations, songs and artists; learn more about your favorite artists and albums through biographies and reviews; keep tabs of your friend's musical interests with a dashboard view of their most recent stations and musical discoveries." Cool stuff.
  • Digg vs Netscape (redux). In episode two of Om Malik's new video podcast, the veteran tech journalist managed to bring together Kevin Rose (founder of Digg) and Jason Calacanis (creator of the "new" Netscape). It's an interesting discussion, not because of any animosity between the two (because there isn't any) but because you get to hear about Calacanis' original vision for the new socially-driven Netscape, which only seemed half realized before he jumped ship. I particularly liked the idea that stories which get promoted to the front page of a social news site might then warrant further exploration by a paid "journalist" or blogger working for that site.

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