Thursday, 10 July 2008

Google's Lively Competitor with Second Life?

Have Google joined the online 3D virtual world market? Well it looks like they have, but it looks like it's still pretty early days with the Beta release of Lively.

Lively certainly seems to have a lot of potential and a lot of good things going for it, in addition to having the might of a company like Google behind it.

  • The 3D rooms run in the browser and only require the download of a very small plugin (about half a MB) as opposed to the huge downloads that Second Life and require.
  • Anyone can create their own room, pretty quickly and easily, and embed the room into a web page like the one below.
  • The rooms aren't connected so if you want to use this with students, it's less risky as they are less prone to 'wandering' into unsuitable areas.
  • The amount of customization of both avatars and rooms is limited at the moment, so this might well help to discourage the more 'adult' orientated users who tend to crop up in Second Life so much.
  • Word is that you can add and watch YouTube videos within your 3D room, which could make a nice addition to a distance course and enable your students to have film / video night together.
  • The 3D comic book type graphics look good and would surely appeal to teens or younger learners.
  • It's free at the moment at least.
Here is my 3D room embedded into my page

But this is what it should look like!

lively 3D room

Before you get too excited though:
  • I've had more than a few problems getting this to work for me either in Firefox 3 or IE 7 and you can't run it on a MAC yet.
  • Lots of the tools for editing the room and avatar that appear in the help instructions, never seem to appear on my screen, so once I've created my room, I don't seem to be able to edit it at all.
  • There's no voice chat only text chat.
  • Because it's only just been launched the actual population is still pretty small, so actually meeting someone to talk to is a bit of a challenge
Anyway, despite all this, I think this is still one to watch, not only because it has Google behind it, but because if it can be made to work well and run in the browser with lower demand on bandwidth and small downloads, this could open up the potential of virtual worlds to many more people and that can't be a bad thing.

Some of my other postings on virtual worlds.
Best Nik Peachey


Anonymous said...

Nik Peachey said...

Yes! Quite so. That was brief! Linden Labs will be drinking Champagne tonight!