- From: tuna <tuna2@xxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 9 Jul 2008 10:34:24 -0700 (PDT)
Very nice creation by Wu' Wo`n :-)
Google, known for its plain-Jane approach to Web design, has come up
with something much wackier.
Skip to next paragraph
Times Topics: Google Inc.
On Tuesday the company introduced Lively, an online tool that allows
people to embody a cartoonish online avatar and have text-based
conversations with friends and other Internet users in virtual chat
rooms. The rooms can be added to any blog or Web site.
Google unveiled the new product in a post on its official blog — its
characteristically understated way of introducing new features to the
world. It can be reached at www.lively.com but is officially part of
Google Labs, an area of the company’s site where it showcases projects
that remain in the beta, or experimental, phase.
Lively and similar products from other companies have the potential to
change the way people interact over the Web. Online chat rooms are two-
dimensional — they include text, and sometimes voice and video.
Lively tries to make that conversation three-dimensional, more
interactive and more fun. As if they were playing a game, users choose
from a selection of unrealistically handsome or Disneyesque avatars.
They can also create their own rooms, which can be posted to a blog or
social network profile as easily as a YouTube video.
Up to 20 people can occupy a room and chat with one another. (Text
appears as cartoon-style bubbles atop the avatars.) Users can design
their own virtual environments, hanging on the walls videos from
YouTube and photos from Picasa, Google’s photo service, as if they
were pieces of art.
Inside Google, the product was headed by Niniane Wang, an engineering
manager. Students at Arizona State University have been testing Lively
for several months.
Ms. Wang wrote in the blog post that she developed Lively as a “20
percent project,” referring to Google’s philosophy that employees
should spend one day a week working on projects outside of their day-
Her spare time could cause some problems for companies with similar
ideas. Second Life, the virtual world run by Linden Labs of San
Francisco, is known for its much larger virtual world that hundreds of
thousands of users can enter at the same time. But it is accessible
through a separate program, not a Web browser. (Lively, which works
only on Windows computers for now, requires the downloading of a bit
of add-on software.)
Mark Kingdon, chief executive of Linden Labs, said Second Life’s value
was not just in 3-D chat but also in more elaborate environments where
people can work, play, teach, and buy and sell virtual products.
“Users are highly motivated to create and transact in Second Life to
the tune of almost a million dollars a day in user-to-user
transactions,” Mr. Kingdon said.
Vivaty, a virtual-world start-up in Menlo Park, Calif., that is backed
by the blue-chip venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield &
Byers, opened its virtual doors on Tuesday. Vivaty’s product is a
similar 3-D chat room that runs on Facebook and through AOL Instant
Messenger. In one version now available on Facebook, users can create
a virtual dorm room and decorate it with furniture from Target.
Keith McCurdy, Vivaty’s chief executive and a former executive at the
game giant Electronic Arts, said Google’s entry was a validation of
the concept, and said Vivaty could get more traction by putting its
virtual worlds on every Web site — even those controlled by Google’s
“We are not beholden to any one camp or approach,” Mr. McCurdy said.
“We are trying to create an open system where lots of people have
branded virtual scenes.”
Google’s success is not assured, of course. Other test products it has
introduced have languished, like Product Search, originally known as
- Prev by Date: IRELAND Shaken by***Abuse Report, Parliament Calls for Severing Ties with Roman Catholic Church
- Next by Date: IRELAND: Catholic Church Pays for Decades of Abuse
- Previous by thread: IRELAND Shaken by***Abuse Report, Parliament Calls for Severing Ties with Roman Catholic Church
- Next by thread: IRELAND: Catholic Church Pays for Decades of Abuse