Lively‘s a virtual chat room that you can embed in web pages, mine below:
Kind of lite version of Second Life from Google which requires a simple download and a Google account. I’m guessing this is a strategic attempt for Google to stick a virtual rocket under their social networking effort. Coming to Orkut and Facebook soon, perhaps?
If someone had told me about this I can imagine I’d be sceptical; the bells and whistles of MSN turn me right off. But whilst there’s plenty to be said for a text-only chatroom, the strangeness of disembodied words stands out when you’ve got a chance to.. just be present.
Pros and cons, then. The urge to customise stuff to match your style is irresistible. But it’s nowhere near the level of sophistication of Second Life and it regularly crashes out. Sometimes the crash handler itself crashes, causing a cascade of apologetic alerts. Also, it’s only on Windows. It allowed PicasaWeb photo album feeds to be displayed in picture frame but that was buggy and it off right now. You can similarly have virtual TVs looping YouTube clips but that gets annoying very quickly. Public rooms devoted to sex seem to be irrepressible currently.
Still, I like the general idea and implementation and I think I could be a great place for certain small communities to just hang out. Just wish they’d done some testing on it first.