Google Lively


[Update 1 : more analysis]

[Update 2 : a very intelligent post by Virtual World News with lots of good info ]

Ah, finally, we get to see the long rumored Google Virtual World, or one of them anyway. There’s also rumored to be another one with a remarkably similar aesthetic that’s only 2D and doesn’t require a plugin and install. [I imagine they could use this 3D technology on the server side to flatten their avatars into isometric sprites that could be rendered in Flash or AJAX, ala google maps on the client. Any bets?]

Well, I have to say, I like the cartoony look a lot. I think that aspect is a winner, if not entirely new. Kudos to the art directors and modelers. Interaction still needs some work though. And, as with most avatar chat worlds, I quickly got bored.

Alas, that’s going to be the big test of all of the new web-based 3D worlds (and for some reason, many of them decided to go open beta today).

I never quite got into Second Life on a personal-time-spending level. But you have to admit, being a long-lived virtual theme park/carnival has afforded it a few solid years to build up a wealth of dynamic content.

Whether any one of these new 3D worlds will do the same or better will depend on penetration among the target audience (I imagine: people who grew too cool for Club Penguin or Habbo) — whether they can attract the numbers of people that will in turn attract the talent they need to make the community vibrant.

It’s the same problem as with any night club, I suppose, and a surprisingly similar experience (minus the alcohol). Expect a lot of the same solutions: Mass Marketing (or the opposite, Hidden Doorways for the really cool kids), Celebrity Gravity, Product Tie-ins, Special Events, ad nauseum.

And don’t forget ye old Happy Hour. Ladies drink free. Or perhaps not.

 

P.S. I wonder if the name Lively will rile Microsoft’s trademark ire. It’s not like we’d ever see a Lively.Live.com moniker due to the sheer awkwardness (or maybe we would? — just kidding). Strange too that competitors like Vivaty are all riffing on the same "alive" or "vibrant" sounding names when their products are not quite as "alive" or "vibrant" or "lively" as one would hope. Perhaps it’s just premature, or perhaps it’s just wishful thinking.

 

  1. #1 by Gwyneth Llewelyn on July 8, 2008 - 5:44 pm

    I never quite got into Second Life on a personal-time-spending level. But you have to admit, being a long-lived virtual theme park/carnival has afforded it a few solid years to build up a wealth of dynamic content.

    Oh my, “long-lived virtual theme park/carnival” indeed… :) I’m pretty sure that IBM’s 5,000 employees and Sun’s 1,500 that work using Second Life as a collaborative, immersive tool definitely have quite a different opinion ;)

    In any case, Lively seems cool and hip for the youngsters, and worth a try!

  2. #2 by avi on July 8, 2008 - 8:27 pm

    I’m sure that 6500 employees of any serious company could find a corner of Disneyland to hold their meetings. It doesn’t make Disneyland a business park.

  3. #3 by dandellion Kimban on July 9, 2008 - 7:09 am

    I was surprised to see Google going out with Win only solution. But,maybe we should wait to see how long it will take for Mac and Linux users to be covered as well.

    Whether any one of these new 3D worlds will do the same or better will depend on penetration among the target audience

    Or quite contrary. maybe the next big breakthrough is for thiose who find a way to get new people in. I doubt that Lively will steal many users (if any) from Second Life. Yes, many will register and take a tour, but will they abandon SL and move their virtual lives to Lively. Hardly so.
    Trick will be to make virtual environment that is not designed for users that are already familiar with virtual worlds. Question is how that will be done. Will it be a nice introduction to 3D spaces on the Internet, place that will grow and develop as users are growing and getting more accustomed to VW’s or just a half-product?

  4. #4 by avi on July 9, 2008 - 3:54 pm

    I don’t know if there’s such a thing as an introductory 3D space. I think people look at each world or service individually. If they like this, they’ll use it. If something comes along they like better, they’ll use that. But there’s nothing to stop that “next thing” from being 2D again if it’s truly better.

    The one exception will be the 3D space that finally solves the UI problems that plague all 3D spaces. It will be copied into ubiquity as 2D “windows” and “icons” once were.

  5. #5 by dandellion Kimban on July 10, 2008 - 1:31 am

    “That UI problem” is exactly what what I am talking about when I say introduction. 3D spaces are not so natural for majority of the Web users. And, while UIs can be better, part of the problem is their lack of sensing the space. UI can help but it cannot solve the problem completely. It takes practice. And the next big thing will be the world that is a good place for practice. Interesting and not to hard.

  6. #6 by Mapper99 on July 18, 2008 - 7:02 am

    I think Lively is going in the right direction. Especially once Google merges in real life 3d data from Google Earth and Google Sketchup. They already have integrated into Google Maps:

    http://www.livelyworlds.com

(will not be published)


  1. google lively