Tuesday, July 08, 2008
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? I started asking this question as a 20% project, and I'm excited to announce today's release of Lively by Google - a 3D virtual experience that is the newest addition to Google Labs.
The Lively team wants to help people experience another dimension of the web. We hope you will use the product to express yourself with and without words, and to do this in the places you already visit on the web.
If you enter a Lively room embedded on your favorite blog or website, you can immediately get a sense of the room creator's interests, just by looking at the furniture and environment they chose. You can also express your own personality by customizing your avatar's look, showing people who you are without having to say a word. Of course, you can chat with each other, and you can also interact through animated actions. In our user research, we’ve been amazed at how much more poignant it is to receive an animated hug than seeing the text “[[hug]]”.
Prior to this release, we worked closely with Arizona State University. Based on feedback from ASU students and with help from the Google Desktop team, we added support for playing YouTube videos in virtual TVs and showing photos in virtual picture frames inside our rooms. Better yet, the gadgets you have in your Lively rooms can also run on your desktop.
To learn more about Lively, please visit www.lively.com. We’re eager to hear your feedback. Maybe we'll bump into you in one of our rooms!