Lively is the new Google virtual world and Google are aiming to use Lively to make the social web more interactive. The Lively project allows users to create their own 3D Lively area and then embed this area on their blog or other web presence. Friends and other Lively users can then visit and have conversations in an interactive way rather than in the traditional static fashion of comments on blogs etc.
Lively trailer from YouTube here:
Whilst Second Life isn't mentioned in any of the press releases, a lot of the functionality ideas behind Lively seem to be similar, however the crucial difference is that Second Life exists in a closed bubble whereas Google are aiming for Lively to be open and distributed wherever content allows.
Curiousity has prompted me to start to create my own profile. This is what I found:
The sign up is very straight forward. Go to http://www.lively.com/ download the simple software and you are ready to sign in using your Google / Gmail account username and password. You then pick your Avatar name and go straight to someone elses room or start to create your own.
Rather than read any instructions or look at any examples, I obviously decided to go straight in and create my own space. There are lots of customisable options for rooms and characters and I managed to get dressed, get a room layout, acquire a bed and some chairs and generally get things started - though I wasn't expecting to see myself represented as a little bald man at the start! (There is also an opportunity to 'catalogue shop' for further objects from fashion to furniture.)
Basic Lively set up all seemed very easy, though I'm sure it's harder to create anything that actually looks nice - though IKEA will launch virtual furniture here too. Lively also allows users to grab a bespoke URL for their room, get an embed code and customise with sound and video (apparently you can even get a TV that runs YouTube clips.)
The Google blog states that "if you enter a Lively room embedded on your favorite blog or website, you can immediately get a sense of the room creator's interests, just by looking at the furniture and environment they chose." Please ignore Google's advice to judge me on the basis of my Lively creation, but feel free to visit / contribute to my Lively room below - the decorating setting is on public so anyone can add / do anything. (Please leave comments here to let me know what you have done.)
Nick's Lively Room:
The Lively project could have great potential for Google to develop FriendConnect and beef up social media credentials. I don't think SecondLife will be particularly affected to start with as Second Life has a core, dedicated following with many users having spent considerable time creating things. However I do think that Lively has the potential to open up the concept of virtual worlds to a far wider audience and it will be interesting to see where this goes (and if it does take off I am hoping to be able to offer the world something slicker than my 5 minute creation from tonight.........)
Lively on the Google blog:
Lively on the Google blog: