What is Google Lively?

What is Google Lively?

Yes, I’ve read the engineering notes and realize conceptually what the production team was striving for: true virtual self-expression, revealing your inner you, and interacting with complete strangers in a room built to the specifications of the eBays or the Amazons of the retail world.

On the surface, Google Lively is a three dimensional IM/Chat application where users can customize avatars and create rooms with items they pick from a product catalog. Running Lively requires Firefox or Internet Explorer, and it currently will only run on Vista or XP.

Lively gives us the unprecedented ability to enter virtual rooms filled with multiple Youtube videos, play with gadgets that also run on our computer’s desktop, or show photos in virtual picture frames.

Additionally, instead of settling for the lackluster ASCII [[hug]] to express our familiarity, Google Lively enables us to give each other a variety of virtual platitudes of our choosing – the extent of which is still uncertain.

But where is Google going with this? Where are WE as savvy consumers going with this? Also, what would separate this advertising behemoth’s latest virtual manifestation from the likes of Second Life or PS3 Home?

Some possible ideas:

  • Visit your Lively Library and pull out a book filled with Google ads (oh, and your favorite out-of-copyright novel).
  • Go to your Lively watering hole and view the selection (sponsored) of imported (foreign and domestic) spirits.
  • Drop by your local Lively movie rental store and trade some clicks for a peek at the latest flicks.
  • Put on your headphones (matching your avatar’s set) and download new tunes while sitting on your plush, virtual suede couch.

Rest assured, this isn’t child’s play – far from it. Google has a strategic plan, and not unlike its other ventures, we can expect it’s going to change the game. Again.

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