Voice capability, which has been in beta mode in Second Life, is now a permanent feature of the online world.

It allows avatars to communicate with each other and could be used for seminars and conferences.

Details of the voice function were revealed on the Second life blog. In the past few weeks over 45,000 Second Life members have downloaded and tested the beta Second Life Viewer, Voice First Look.

Voice is available through all regions of the game. It will be an optional feature and although part of the main interface, can be turned off from within the Preferences menu. Second Life citizens have complete control over how voice is used and can mute individual residents by right-clicking on their avatar and adjusting the Active Speakers.

New features of the In-World Voice Chat include a voice set-up wizard which enables residents to set up voice and adjust their mic volume. Push-to-Talk is part of the Voice feature which means residents’ mics are off by default. Speech gestures are also included in the Library to enhance the feature further.

Linden Lab, maker of Second Life also plans to develop and add further features to the voice capability of the game following its launch. It plans to add controls to enable moderators to control public speaking events and have power over when microphones are turned on and off. Additional features planned for the voice tool include the ability to leave voicemail messages and download MP3 recordings such as voice conferences during sessions.