Google Lively Closes on December 31st

Google Lively Image

Me hanging out in Google Lively

Lively was Google’s attempt in the creation of a browser based virtual world space (although there was still an application download) and will be closing on December 31st, 2008. Lively was an interesting product, but as designed its failure stems from it’s approach, Lively was built more as a 3D chatroom instead of a virtual world. Rooms were never connected to each other, there was never a sense of community or the ability to connect several rooms together in the creation of a larger space. Instead when filled a room became unorganized chaos as avatars would merge with one another.

Lively also suffered from several difficulties, it’s movement system was mouse based (and unintuitive), keeping up with conversations through a bubble like interface was annoying, is lacked audio streaming but had video and image streaming, and there were not any integrated tools to create items inside of Lively (let alone share them).

Lively’s approach of a virtual world is the wrong approach. It treated this space as an extension of a chatroom rather than the extension of the Internet. Where people could interact with one another not just through chat but through media. Lively was not the first virtual world of its kind and it will not be the last of its ilk to fall. I suspect other virtual worlds or flash based worlds will ultimately fail for many of the reasons Lively has.

What Is Second Life?

The horizon in Second Life

After five years of its release, I am always shocked when I have to describe Second Life to another person. I assumed with its massive coverage of mainstream media (who are quick to jump on any salacious scandalous material), many dedicated blogs and websites, and even a clear definition on the website, describing and defining Second Life would be an unnecessary chore. However, I’m wrong. When presented with the question “What is Second Life” I find myself juggling between three different components in trying to describe the platform as a whole: the technology, its capabilities and the purpose. The platform is very organic; I don’t believe a single definition focused on one aspect serves as a complete definition. Somewhere between these three areas is a clearer, understandable definition of Second Life.

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Metaverse.TV’s MBC Openspace Roundtable Discussion

Although I consider the introduction of Linden Lab’s Homestead product a resolution to the Openspace Sim controversy, the reactions around the community seem to be split. Some people (including CodeBastard) disagree with my thoughts (and have slapped me), the consensus throughout the community is the introduction of the new product and changes is a reasonable compromise between the community wishes and Linden Labs needs.  Two days before the announcement of Homesteads, hosts Dousa Dragonash and Dietrich Finesmith of Metaverse.tv MBC invited BNT CEO Intlibber Brautigan and I for a round table discussion of the Openspace issues.

While some of the topics raised here are irrelevant, there are some that remain very relevant and I feel hold true and will continue to remain relevant to the future as hardware specifications and limits are completely defined.

Homesteads: The resolution to the Openspace Sim Issue

Privately, among friends and during an interview this week I’ve noted that the controversy surrounding Openspace Sim raised the need of a new product; something that was not a full sim, but not an Openspace sim.  Moments ago, M Linden has announced a resolution to the Openspace Sim controversy, Homesteads. This is a really good move for Linden Lab and community. This new product bridges the gap between Openspaces and full fledged sims. A win-win, for those those who wanted to keep cheaper sim land, Linden Lab wanting to maintain their grid stability initatives. This announcement also displays Linden Lab’s continued ability to recognizing, listening and adjusting their policies based on feedback. Continue reading