Friday, November 21, 2008

A few thoughts on the Google Lively demise

When Google Lively launched earlier this year, I soon found out it wasn't really appealing or interesting to me. Lively is an enhanced 3D chatbox, but not a virtual world; I didn't pay much attention anymore after the launch. Obviously that goes for lots of others, too, as Lively is about to be shut down by Google. What this all means for virtual worlds and 3D environments remains to be seen.

One of the drawbacks, at launch, was the closed nature of Lively. As said in this interview:

"As far as 3D user-created content and textures, it’s by invite only. You send a request and we approve the request as a developer and you sign a developer TOS. We’re going to be very aggressive about that, much more so than others"

At the time, I thought that was a bit foolish. Lively could have been a nice addition to many a corporate website, if properly branded. But by creating barriers in content creation process, Google effectively blocked the creative minds, the hobbyist pioneers, the pathfinders from toying around with certain important features of the Lively environment. I didn't think that was a smart move, but we'll never know if things could have been different if Google hadn't implemented this policy.

Another contestant in pretty much the same space as Lively, is Just Leap In. It's also a room based 3D environment, but less cartoonish than Google Lively. To me, it just looks a whole lot better, really, while having many of Lively's features. It's going to be interesting to see whether JLI can pull off where Google decided to call it quits.


oriste said...

The Livelyzens (Lively users) are coming together to appeal to Google to keep Lively alive.

Lively is a great platform for interaction as well as creativity. It is easy to use, browser based, embeddable on webpages to bring a 3D experience right on your website. While Lively has been in beta and has limited capability in terms of the objects and avatars available, the Livelyzens have been able to come up with very creative ways to create art from what is available. All this in a "clean" 3D world thanks to Google's vigilance in getting rid of rooms with inappropriate content. More than anything, Lively has become a place to make friends for life – from all over the world with wonderful people.

Please visit our website and participate in the Lively Machinima contest we are conducting to show the creative potential of Google Lively. Please also sign our online petition

We kindly request netizens to support us in reviving a wonderful 3D world that is a kid friendly and a creative space for art and interaction amongst adults.

Sered said...

Oriste, obviously you like the Lively kind of enviroment much more than I do, so perhaps you have an opinion on Just Leap In? I see a lot of similarities between Lively and Just Leap In, and like to know how you think about JLI, and how it compares to Lively.

Btw, I spent a lovely holiday in Mirtos once..

oriste said...

Sered, while I find that JLI has a much more realistic 3D environment as opposed to the cartoon-esque 3D world of Lively, for me it is too elaborate. What I'm looking for is a *meeting place* where I can sit with a bunch of people and have a conversation about any topic that comes up. The 3D implementation of Lively is sufficient to bring a sense of place and person to a conversation which is lacking in text-only based chat rooms or IRC channels. So far I have found no other VW environment that offers that.

If properly executed Lively could (have) become a cross between Facebook (personalized rooms, pictures of friends on the wall (click one and go to their room), adsense on billboards if the room owner wants to monetize, a game room in the basement, etc) and Twitter (instant chatter). Something happens in the world? You'd have a room set up in no time, call upon your friends to gather there and discuss, attract other people with the same interest, etc..

I haven't spend that much time in JLI (I kept destroying the interior decoration of my room when moving things, call me clumsy ;-)), the animations are great and all that, but i see no-one around there to talk to... It's such a beautiful *lonely* place...

B.t.w., I put your bike in the shade, it was standing there in the full sun, not good for the tires ;-)

Sered said...

well, hard to argue with that, given that I don't spend too much time in JLI either. Mostly because it's not something I can explore; the room setup doesn't do it for me. But still I like the way JLI looks and I wish them all the best. Perhaps they'll find their audience now that Lively (still) looks like it may have to go.