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Wednesday, July 09, 2008


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Laetizia Coronet

"...eventually graduating into Second Life, which is likely to be more freeform and open than Lively."

Hmph. Freeform and open? Seeing is believing.

Osprey Therian

Lively is just training wheels, like most of the programs out there at the moment.

Tinsel Silvera

I just got back from there. In a word. No. Lively is no threat to SL. Perhaps to IMVU and Meez. But not SL.

Melissa Yeuxdoux

Not to mention that Likely is Windows-only.

(Um, Gwyneth? I'm not sure... can't see whether she's winking.)

Mal Burns

Hah - my download won't even install! As a kind of web service this would seen to run parallel to an actual metaverse and, given the mass adoption of anything Google, may end up being far too "lively" to be of much practical use.

I favour portable avatars like "Weblins" for the web (they even load into the inworld SL browser) and possibly "sim" creators like ExitReality which attempt to create a simple VRML environment out of any web-page you are inclined to stay long enough on for it to be worthwhile.

Also, being on the web is not enough anyway if what's on offer is not cross-plaform.

FlipperPA Peregrine

It isn't an SL competitor, but I think it will be quite popular, especially with the casual "MySpace" crowd of surfers. It doesn't pass my litmus test for an SL competitor, however: (1) Can you get naked? (no) (2) Can you be non-human? (yes, but barely)

Those two questions are what an SL competitor will need to underline how open they are to creativity and personal freedoms.


What do people think about Steiger's perspective on the content-creation issue? In a recent piece on Virtual World News, Reuben was quoted as saying:

"With respect to the particular flavor that they’re serving up first, I think you’re going to see a lot of blowback at first from people that don’t matter. The Second Life cognoscenti. They’ll be pissed because they can’t build stuff and blah, blah, blah. The real test is whether other people like it. If they do, that’s when it gets interesting."


I do find it amusing that almost every blog/news posting about Lively is almost willing it to become the Second Life killer. Are we all so tired of our little 3D home already?

And I disagree with Steiger. Yes...there are more consumers than creators but don't you want to attract the creators first to build a world that consumers want to...um...consume? I blogged a bit about this concept last week.

Sophrosyne Stenvaag

I've been playing with Lively for an hour or so. It's no SL killer, but may benefit SL by creating a desire for more among some of its users, and siphoning off some of SL's less savvy population.

However, I never thought I'd say this about anything, let alone a Google product - the arrival experience and help documentation make SL's orientation look positively brilliant.

The most interesting thing I've found about it - the ability to associate hyperlinks with objects - is buried deep in tabbed menus, while it took me better than half an hour to discover that avatars are moved by click+drag.

It's odd that the interface seems to focus on furnishing the rooms, when there's no user created content, rather than on avatar movement and interaction, when the product seems to be just avatarized chat. Very strange choices...

Marianne McCann

I played with it a bit, mostly to make sure my name was in the system, and your accessment ir right on the money. I would think more a competitor for IMVU or something, not Second Life. Also seems much more aimed at a teen level market. it is not a Second Life competitor.

Gwyneth Llewelyn

Oh... nice picture, Dusan :) Yes, I'm afraid it's me there on the bed, on one of those typical SL moments: "hey, let's move a bed in the middle on the room and dance on it!" The picture, in fact, comes from Pathfinder Linden's own room in Lively, and all the audience — all the 12 avatars that managed to fit in without crashing the room — are SL veterans. In fact, I've met today my first non-SLer in Lively. He seemed a nice guy, although he was even more clueless than we were (former WoW fan).

So, hmm, this is a rather difficult analysis. Reuben's words make sense since he is selling Lively as a corporate-grade product. Take a look at what Computerworld says about Lively. They're all claiming it's the first (?) product that will allow corporations to do teleconferencing on the web using avatars, and allow telecommuters to be in the (virtual) office with their colleagues and collaboratively launch applications (eg. Google Docs) and view slideshows and such.

Is that for teenagers? I don't think so. The "company that does no evil" (aka Google) hired quite a lot of journalists from the industry magazines and corporate-type blogs to talk a lot on how Google was going to bring avatar-based-web-chatrooms to help companies to work together better and more efficiently. A virtual world for teens? Most certainly not. At least when you read the pro-Lively articles, this is all about innovation, advanced Google technology, high-end engineering to deploy a virtual teleconferencing infrastructure right on corporate webpages...

Uhhhhh.... right. This is the kind of reality distortion I'm used to get from Steve Jobs (and I'm a faithful fangirl and True Believer of the Church Of The Holy Apple™!), but from Google, it seems strange.

Specially because, of course, there is no content to be created.

In my humble opinion, however, Lively *is* a competitor to SL... because Google says so. Or rather, what Google says is that they have a product for exactly the target audience that SL is also aimed at: business, cooperation, collaborative use. But Google says they have more: they have YouTube videos in-world and you can embed your room on your webpage, be it MySpace, Facebook, or your corporate intranet. And, well, they're Google. Google's always right. Google's the best.

In a few days, as the massive media rollout stampedes across the media, every company in the world thinking about a presence in virtual worlds will read Reuben's words. Not mine; nor Hammie's; nor yours. They will want to be in Google's virtual world. Because Google is a solid, old, company and a market leader in Internet software, founded in 1998 and dictating the rules of the market. While nobody knows about the tiny start-up founded in, uh, 1999 (so MUCH later!) and which has the weird name of a tree.

So I'll be watching my email very carefully. My feeling is that corporations will go for the Google brand, since that's what they know. And since the rooms are disconnected, and it's impossible to know how many people are watching your room anyway, there is not even the issue about "size". Everybody with a Google account is a registered Lively user. Or, well, almost. I think there are 250 million registered Google accounts. So that's the size of a "virtual world" launched yesterday. Oh, sure, we know that not all of those will ever log into Lively, but, haven't we been saying that about SL's numbers as well?... In sheer size, Google's operating the largest virtual world ever in the history of Mankind, and with a single press release and a crappy half-done product (which took them three years to develop!), has four times the total number of MMORPG/MMOG/social 3D world users in the world!

If you had never heard about any of the hundreds of social 3D worlds and just got a press release from Google in the mailbox claiming all the above, what would you be betting on?

I can only say, the big question is if Lively gets quickly "Orkutised" or not. Remember, however, that each 20-avatar-max room is completely isolated from the rest, so for most of us, it's irrelevant if the rest of the Lively rooms are about sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll. *My* room will have nothing of the sort, and so won't any of the other rooms who will be using Lively "seriously" (whatever that means in a cartoonish world where the animations are scarily irritating...).


"half an hour to discover that avatars are moved by click+drag. "

google becomes yahoo quicker than yahoo became AOL...

THATS mediaverse acceleration for ya!


Pavig Lok

With a good team you could make something like lively in a year.... which is why so many good teams have made something like lively in a year lol.

The content creator issue (more consumers than creators) misses the point - the direction forward for virtual realities is for them to be more like reality, so we don't need to put on a different head to get things done in them.

The anecdote I always use to describe this goes thus: some folk are discussing something (business or edu... yaknow something serious) and someone says the magic worlds "show me". In a world like SL even an entirely unskilled builder may rez a prim or do a brief sketch using the inworld tools - drop an image on something, make an impromptu slideshow using web on a prim (though that's a less well known trick). In this short time the power of the medium becomes aparent "Eureka!".

This consumer content creation is about doing "a thing" not a polished profesional thing, an off the cuff good enough thing. It may need to evolve to be easier, but the fact that it exists at all is the key. In worlds like lively which place a great divide between content creators and consumers the fluidity of this kind of creation is broken. One may become a tool user rapidly, but if one wishes to be a tool creator it's off to university to study game development for a few years.... there's no skill building continuum, and in lively you even have to shop to find a prim to rez - if you wish to point at something it's quicker to rez a lamp on it.... hardly ideal :P

This will introduce newcomers to the 25 year old phenomenon of the avatar chat application... but in the end it's just more of the same.

Laetizia Coronet

Just got back. Epic Fail. Couldn't walk, couldn't get avatar to change (default is apparently an anorexic girl with a cartoon face and big boobs - way to go Google, that's setting an example!), couldn't load Pathfinder's room and was bombarded with "funny" noises and Russian chat whilst trying. And then I had to switch off the computer to get out - even CTRL ALT DEL wouldn't work anymore.
Makes you want to hug and kiss Philip, for a change.

sirhc deSantis

Had the same problems as Laetizia - killed my machine and needed a physical reset. Avoiding this like the dead horse it is

Naoki Yifu

It's not only Lively, they (plethora of other initiatives) are all good for SL -- eventually all roads lead to SL.

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