Today, Google launched a service called Lively, which seems to be a 3d chat application with avatars. I am curious just where Google is going with this, are they taking on Second Life? In the promo materials they say one can put a YouTube video on a virtual TV in your virtual Room - hmmm... Bandwidth usage! Of course, watching your own avatar watching TV seems a bit daft, but...
I couldn't help myself - you know, it's for research purposes - so I installed the application - luckily it was painless. I very quickly had a room and... Yikes, apparently Google thought I was a female grunge band groupie or something, where did they get that avatar? Of course, when I went to change avatars to something that represents me, I found only odd cartoon characters and various characters that walked out of a slacker convention. So that answers one question - this application is for teen social stuff, at least at first. Ah well, I picked one anyway and have made a Telecom Ramblings room, although it just has a pile of furniture in it so far. But perhaps I can make a meeting place for the people who actually read blogs on telecom subjects... I'm not sure why or how it would be useful yet, but I'll enjoy just messing around with it. You know, for 'research' purposes.
I can't help but wonder if it isn't time though for a 3d chat application that is geared toward something a bit more serious. I know in Second Life various companies now have real estate and virtual offices, but this phenomenon hasn't taken off yet beyond the novelty level. In the novel Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (one of my favorites), when you needed customer service you *always* went to the metaverse, not the phone. It's a prediction I see coming true one day, which is why I wonder if Google Lively will turn into anything more serious than a teen chat room.
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