While I, like many others, was a bit disappointed when Google launched Lively this summer, now that Goog is pulling the plug I think I’m even more disappointed. Feeling a bit like my first Lively avatar looks above.
Six months is hardly enough time to determine the true potential, and it’s rather sad to think that economic conditions might keep an organization like Google from giving new ideas adequate time to grow.
While the limit on developers and isolationism of rooms was off-putting to those who like to build, and brand opportunities had not materialized, and Google has had other “flops,” I agree with Christian Renaud that the closure is unfortunate.
I had come to see it as sort of a “gateway” virtual world – something with the Google name that ran in a browser might be more palatable to many users who were not quite ready for a fully immersive 3D experience. But, once they became a bit more accustomed to communicating in 3D, they might start to crave the higher benefits of a world with presence.
That is why I was actively pitching ideas for its use on DellLounge and even recently talking to some in Dell’s eSupport team about leveraging it for customer service. Not as a replacement to existing methods for assisting customers, but as a less-stodgy option for a demographic that hates to pick up the phone yet still wants to connect with a real person.
Alas, it takes time to convince large organizations to try new things – more time than Lively was given. Sure there are other options like IMVU, who many noted was doing what Lively was trying to do way before them, and Vivaty which works in Facebook and AIM. But, neither can easily be dropped into place on your corporate web site, and quite frankly, don’t have the trusted name that Google has with mainstream Internet users.
So, an idea that maybe wasn’t fully researched and “overlapped the turf of too many existing competitors without delivering on a compelling experience of its own“, won’t derail the entire virtual world industry.
But it still leaves a bit of taint and another hurdle to be faced by those of us who call ourselves metaverse evangelists.
[UPDATE: I was contacted by Keith McCurdy, CEO, and Mark Hull, VP Product Management at Vivaty, to let me know that I was mistaken about the ability to drop one of their rooms onto a web page. Here’s the note from Keith:
I am the CEO of Vivaty, and I wanted to reach out and contact you to clarify something in your recent blog post on Lively closing.
You said “Sure there are other options……and Vivaty which works in Facebook and AIM. But, neither can easily be dropped into place on your corporate web site”
Vivaty can be put on any web page, and works at AIM, Facebook, Vivaty.com , and any embedded web page. We recently, about a month or two ago, added an embedding option that enables any Vivaty scene to be embedded on any web page that supports iframes. Let me know if you want to learn more about that feature, how Dell could use Vivaty, or anything going on at Vivaty.