Google just announced a virtual world builder called
. Although its currently more of a 3D chat room type app I can easily see it evolving into a hyperlinked universe of rooms that competes with
. Lively environments can be embedded in web pages, which is a huge advantage over bottled universes like Second Life and
. This may be the platform that finally successfully integrates a 3D universe with the web. I see Lively environments as being great components to augment social network platforms like Ning. Google just released a Facebook Lively application and a MySpace version is on the way. If I were
I would be concerned! Second Life has a huge head start, but Google is obviously very interested in this space. Lively users can select from an assortment of template environments as a starting point or build a completely new world from scratch. Its easy to manipulate objects, copy them, tweak parameters, etc. The tools and interactions are relatively simple, but I see lots of potential in this platform. Lively uses a custom browser plugin and is currently only available for Windows. OS X and Linux versions are planned.