Hawaiʻi's Technology Community

Google Launches Virtual World Builder

Google just announced a virtual world builder called Lively. 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
Second Life. Lively environments can be embedded in web pages, which is a huge advantage over bottled universes like Second Life and
Multiverse. 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
Linden Lab 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.

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Comment by Daniel Leuck on July 16, 2008 at 3:11pm
Hey Viil - I joined the Lively TechHui Lounge. Very cool!
Comment by Viil on July 13, 2008 at 7:06pm
Embedding it is real easy as Lively generated a frame tag for you to include in your website. I embedded a Lively room into a Drupal webpage the other day.
Comment by Daniel Leuck on July 13, 2008 at 6:58pm
Viil: I think Lively has a couple of important advantages to Second Life.

Absolutely. The 3D metaverse that eventually prevails will be one that integrates well with the web.

Viil: Just created a TechHui Lounge Island :)

Great! I look forward to trying it on my Windows machine at work. I really need to get parallels installed on this MacBook. I hope Google releases the OS X Lively plugin soon.

I'll see if something can be done about Lively room embedding on TechHui.
Comment by Viil on July 13, 2008 at 6:30pm
hmm, I tried to add the Lively room to my post, but apparently its caught in the html filter :/
Here's a link to the TechHui Lounge Island:
Comment by Viil on July 13, 2008 at 6:29pm
Just created a TechHui Lounge Island :)
Comment by Viil on July 13, 2008 at 6:16pm
I think Lively has a couple of important advantages to Second Life:

A. being lightweight
B: that you can easily incorporate it into a website
C: that the space is limited to rooms, rather than an expansive world

In some contexts the room metaphor and limitation may seem as a drawback compared to the Second Life world where you can seamlessly move from room to room, building to building, island to island, etc. But in the context of education and meetings I think the room limitation allows less distraction, more focus, and more control on the part of the facilitators.

Lively is still needs some tweaks and polishing of its existing features, as well as getting more collaborative features. Currently there are in-world tvs which can stream youtube videos, and "whiteboards" which can display images, but I would love it to get audio and video conferencing functionalities, as well as whiteboards and possibilities for shared viewing of documents and websites.
Including those features to the virtual world's rich interaction and sense of presence would make Lively my preferred online meeting environment :)
Comment by Cameron Souza on July 9, 2008 at 3:31am
There is an interesting post on TechCrunch about investments in virtual worlds. Apparently VCs have invested $345 million in virtual worlds this year. I bet they are having second thoughts after this announcement!


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