Out of the blue, Google has announced a new 3D virtual world called "Google Lively". The world is similar to Second Life, or the upcoming "Home" for PS3.
Users can create their own 3D "rooms," and deck them out with furniture and other accoutrements, in addition to being able to add themed music to complete your personalized virtual space in Google Lively. Users will be able to visit others" rooms, leave items for other Google Lively netizens as well as being able to stream photos and video.
"Based on feedback from ASU [Arizona State University] 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."
- Niniane Wang, engineering manager.
A few other differences from Second Life: Lively doesnt have money. Its designed to be easier to use, with a drag-and-drop interface. And its not programmable, at least yet, so you can only select furniture, clothes, hairstyles, and such from the prefabricated catalog Google supplies.
As of now, Google Lively only runs on PCs running Windows XP or Windows Vista, with a special browser plugin that uses Emergents Gamebryo engine.
Niniane Wang also added that upcoming support for Mac OS X is a high priority.