I came across this interesting article in ReadWriteWeb that discusses how the enterprise has not yet quite dived head first into virtual worlds, even though it has been around since 1995. Virtual worlds are different because it recreates social interaction found in real-life in a digital space. Steven Walling mentions three key functions that can benefit virtual teams in an enterprise which are social networking, real-time collaboration between teams, and interactive training. While these functions are great, what are some functions of virtual worlds that are beneficial in reaching consumers?
Google has entered into a new domain, virtual reality, despite what some would say is heavy competition already in place. Lively is the latest offering in Google Labs. It is a product of Niniane Wang’s, an engineering manager, 20% time project. Her reason for this latest creation, as citied in this article from eWeek.com, is:
“A while ago, I looked around the social Web and wished that it could be less static. Sure, you can leave a comment on a blog or write a text blurb on your social networking profile. But what if you want to express yourself in a more fun way, with 3D graphics and real-time avatar interactions?”
Features of the new app are that it runs solely through a browser using a Google account. Similar to other apps of its type, users create their own avatars, and the rooms can be customized to feature TV’s displaying YouTube clips, and photos on the wall. Another article, from ReadWriteWeb, noted that that a difference between Lively and Second Life is that:
Google’s idea seems to be less to create one large virtual world, but to give publishers an opportunity to create their own small virtual world for their readers and visitors.
While Google does have an impressive track record with their product launches from Google Labs, as Brad Stone from the New York Times pointed out in his review of Lively,
Google’s success is not assured, of course. Other test products it has introduced have languished, like Product Search, originally known as Froogle.
Despite heavy competition already in place from heavyweights such as Second Life, do you think that Google and the strength of the brand will prevail?