It's a lively world out there...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Today Google has finally launched their long rumored Second Life clone to blow Second Life out of the sky. Being a content creator who certainly has a number of serious worries about certain aspects of the policies and developments over at Linden Labs it was natural to check it out asap and I must say... Google must have lost their touch, because I have never before experienced such a major misconception of a new medium on their part. Even Orkut had it's moments.
Lively wants to create a Virtual World, accessable easily within your webbrowser. For what it is it certainly looks pretty, but being sceptical about the whole trend to move each and every aplication into your webbrowser already I must point out there's a reason that some things should stay in actual aplications. On the first view I can tell that these will always be tiny limited constructions if it's supposed to run effectively.
Think about the development of the web as a whole. who was it that made the web what it is today? Was it smart cooperations, paving the way with new ideas showing a profound understanding of the new medium? No it was simply a huge sea of millions of simple ideas made by individual people, which ultimately crystalized into the web of today and even now startups founded by merely a handfull of heads are way ahead of the game because corporations are slow and unflexible. But it is them who bring and will bring all the content to Lively. Aparantly Google is trying to leave its position of sorting content for you, to filtering it for you and now to completely control whats being done for you.
The idea is to give you the ability of representing yourself and simulating the process fo you visiting a website, possibly meeting other people who are visiting along the way. But the avatar customization to represent yourself is completely defined by Google. The Interface is Mii-inspired but that's only the surface because in reality other then changing the texture of your eyebrows there won't be very much to customize on your avatar. If you want more, you have to go to googles shop where you can buy a selection of google filtered and provided content to add. In other words, to represent yourself you got to chose form a total of... 1 style... Likewise if you want to create a location you have to chose from a preset of Google-provided rooms.
It's clear to say that even through all the struggle to keep it, the completely liberal attitude of a Second Life is simply a whole different level then the silly "buy our stuff and put it on your website" approach that Google has thought up here.
Me, as content provider, game designer, wannabe artist, I have found the place to be and I don't even see the glimpse of a chance to give this mess of a virtual world a chance.

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