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Live from Lively, Google's New 3D Virtual World

Posted by: Matt Vella on July 09

lively-interactions.gifWhat if the Web could be more life-like and immersive? It’s a question technophiles have been asking for a while, but Google engineers have finally taken the wraps off their answer: Lively is the company’s 3D social network, a series of chat rooms that can be embedded directly into pages on the Web.

Lively is a mash up of instant message, chat room, virtual world, and Web page. Think: Second Life in a web browser. Rooms, like the avatars that represent the users within, can be customized and individually linked to. “If you enter a Lively room embedded on your favorite blog or website,” Google’s Niniane Wang said in the announcement post, “you can immediately get a sense of the room creator’s interests, just by looking at the furniture and environment they chose.”

Lively is a 20% project, still in Beta, and it shows. Even on a powerful machine the performance is clunky and, for the moment, it’s Windows only. (Mac and Linux clients are on their way.) However, the user interface is refined and, in general, the idea has a lot of merits. Lively rooms are so easy to embed on pages, requiring only Flash and a lightweight plug-in. Lively promises to packaged the wildly popular environments and interactivity of games like The Sims and virtual worlds such as Second Life into a simple, easily accessible web experience.

Reader Comments


July 9, 2008 08:17 PM

como vai funcionar esse jogo que parece com o secondlife

Tyler Rorabaugh

July 9, 2008 08:18 PM

The only problem is that this concept isnt really new. There are several others that have also been doing this for instance:

and in the late 90's there was VRML


July 9, 2008 08:28 PM

Sounds lame. Looks lame.
Chances's lame.


July 9, 2008 08:36 PM

Now you have done it.....this will change life on earth. Chating will be as addictive as gaming. I think you have hit the jackpot of ideas. I'm 77 years old and still gaming. YOU HAVE A WINNER.

Da Bon

July 9, 2008 08:38 PM

dats dope yall!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


July 9, 2008 09:02 PM

"technophiles have been asking for a while" --about Stephen King's 'The Lawnmower Man'?
That doesn't seem to have any relation to this article...
Perhaps I'm just not getting the reference but, are you sure that's the intended destination for that link?


July 10, 2008 12:04 AM

This is such a blatant rip off of Sony's new "Home" service. I mean, can Google come up with anything new at all or do they have to steal every idea

Ralph Weinsheink

July 10, 2008 12:12 AM

What's in ia name?? Hmmmmm! Prediction: "LIVELY will be DEADLY."

Q: What does that mean?
A: Just wait and see the houses of cards (other chat rooms too) FALL (meaning TUMBLE not the season).


July 10, 2008 09:34 AM

I tried this and it was logging in for 20 minutes and I said forget it.
Yeah, it has been done.


July 10, 2008 04:54 PM

Duh. Of course it's been done. Nice job all. Way to understand beta.


July 10, 2008 04:54 PM

Duh. Of course it's been done. Nice job all. Way to understand beta.


July 15, 2008 06:37 PM

I'm sorry, but I'm sure Linden Labs must roll their eyes and snicker each time someone compares Google's Lively to Second Life. It doesn't even begin to come close. That's not to say that Google couldn't catch up at some point, but what they've presented so far isn't even close. I could see someone comparing lively to perhaps IMVU or Kavena, but not to the likes of the immersive experience of Second Life. Thanks to work being performed in OpenSimulator, worlds are being built outside the walled gardens of the Second Life grid.

Currently in Lively, you can't terraform land, you can't build, you're confined to a room. Your customization is almost non-existent. Hopefully, the comparison will draw people to check out Second Life. But I fear they'll instead try out Lively and then be turned off by such a mediocre experience of what media is trying to refer to as a virtual world.


July 18, 2008 02:44 AM

It's good but needs to be more customisable - like being able to add similar features to your own onto the characters, instead of just the limited ones available.


July 24, 2008 02:01 PM

Second Life and Google Lively are big steps in 3D metaverse. Metaverse as well as 3D are inevitable. PC computation power and 3D motion control will improve and so will Google Lively. Didn't we experience that in Second Life for the past 5 years?

clark mickal

July 28, 2008 07:04 AM

i think it is a very good animation. It's releted to online chating. The only draw back I see is the limited no. of features, if this can be taken care off than surely its a HIT !!
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No longer child's play, the booming global games market is worth billions of dollars. In Games, Inc., BusinessWeek Innovation writer Matt Vella and Tokyo correspondent Kenji Hall analyze emerging business trends in video games and interactive entertainment. They’ll examine everything from button-mashing, chart-topping, console games to serious games commissioned by big corporations to train staff. They’ll also map the evolution of expansive virtual worlds and go behind the strategies at companies that are turning play into big business.

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