Google starts 3D Virtual World

Lively Google Google launches a 3D Online Virtual World called Lively.

After many rumors, it is now public. Google starts with a Massive-Multiplayer-Online World and targets the users and audience of Second Live.

A great feature is the ability to produce, publish and even sell virtual products on Lively. This might even give companies the opportunity to offer their real products, as virtual products, too. After our projects in Second Life for Deutsche Bank and Axel-Springer, we might do some Lively projects soon.

In its latest quest to expand beyond its main mission of organizing the world’s information, Search engine leader Google is entering into the virtual world business Tuesday with the introduction of “Lively,” a product that lets users create highly personalized 3-D virtual rooms on the web.

Google’s 3D social arena called “Lively,” is similar to Second Life, lets users develop their own custom-made characters, or avatars, and interact with friends through text chats or animations. But Google wants it to be part of your first life.

“Google has proved itself as a leader in presenting technological tools, but Google Lively will serve more as a form of entertainment and expression for users.”

Google’s free service “Lively,” is three-dimensional software that empowers users to congregate in fantasy rooms and create their own 3D “rooms,” with customized furniture and other accessories. During a quick test-run, we visited one user’s room that was modeled after a Ewok village, complete with tribal Ewok music. Another had a Wild West theme, and another was modeled after a little girl’s bedroom.

Google hopes “Lively” will promote even more people to dive into alternate realities because it is not confined to one Web site like Second Life, and it does not cost anything to use. After installing a small packet of software from lively.com, a user can enter Lively from other Web sites, like social networking sites and blogs.

Virtual rooms are exhibited within web browsers after installing a small, free downloadable file. Users can glance through these rooms at the Lively website, or embed them on their own blogs or sites.

Google before-long has created a Lively application that works on Facebook.com, one of the Web’s hottest hangouts, and is working on a version suitable for an even larger online social network, News Corp.’s MySpace.com.

“We know a lot of people already spend countless hours online socializing, so we just want to try to make it more enjoyable,” said Niniane Wang, a Google engineering manager who oversaw Lively’s creation over the past year.

Wang said in a blog post that Google had been collaborating with Arizona State University on the Lively project.

Lively’s users will be able to carve an avatar that can be male, female or even a different species. An avatar can assume a new identity, change clothes or convey emotions with a few clicks of the mouse.

The service also allows users to develop diverse digital environments to roam, from a child’s room to an exotic island. The rooms can be decorated with a wide variety of furniture, including large-screen televisions that can be set up to play different clips from YouTube.com, Google’s video-sharing service.

Wang said, “Based on response from ASU students and with help from the Google Desktop team, we further appended support for playing YouTube videos in virtual TVs and showing photos in virtual picture frames inside our rooms. Better yet, the gadgets you have in your Lively rooms can also run on your desktop.”

Additionally, Lively users can also invite their friends and family into their virtual realities, where they can chat, hug, cry, laugh and interact as if they were characters in a video game.

Wang said in a blog post that she started figuring out on the idea as a “20 percent project,” or one that Google employees are granted to do albeit it has nothing to do with their direct jobs.

The long-expected move has been anticipated by rivals such as IMVU, Habbo, WeeWorld, and Gaia Online -– all of whom offer virtual rooms and avatars targeted at young people.

As a preventative measure, Google is requiring Lively’s users to be at least 13 years old — a constraint that has not been enough to prevent young children from running into trouble on other social spots on the Web.

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