Google lively is a very clever social interaction “environment” that is simple to set up and modify, and may appeal a lot to folks who like some visual feedback when chatting with others. I don’t think this will replace the experience for hard core second life folks, but I’m fairly sure it’ll cut the number of *new registrations* at Second Life by quite a bit. In fact I’m sure they are now discussing how to handle this major assault on what was a virtual monopoly (literally and figuratively) at Second Live.
I’m unable to embed my Google Lively rooms here, though I just tested and they work fine in blogger blogs.
It’s funny how things come back around. About ten years ago I got my tourism board of directors to experiment with “virtual meetings” using avatars and within a simple browser framework. I even forget the program. The technology was fine – even it allowed chats and a way to “carry” groups of people to different URLs so you could demo new web pages and such. However the mostly non-tech crowd simply was not comfortable interacting in this fashion and I got very limited participation. Even now this is the case for many, but I think the growing number of technophiles combined with the current generation of young folks who are very comfortable with virtual worlds will open up this type of “conversation” to include a large segment of the population – enough to make this a significant new addition to the online communication landscape.
Niniane Wang from Google has the intro blog post:
Official Google Blog: Be who you want on the web pages you visit
The New York Times Brad calls this a “Whackier” kind of Google, which I think is a compliment.