A little under two years ago, I sat down with Google’s Niniane Wang and had a very interesting "off the record" conversation. Despite the secrecy, she wouldn’t tell me much about the secret social media project she was working on. Fast forward to today, and she’s announcing Google’s new Lively.com.
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.
Lively is still very much a "beta"–actually a Google Labs project–so you shouldn’t expect much from it. What you will find is a chat room with some cute 3D graphics that feels a lot like what you’d expect if Second Life and Zwinky had a child.
If it weren’t for the genius of Niniane, I’d place Lively in the same consignment bin as Orkut. Instead, you can tell me if you think Lively rocks or sucks. This video might help:
P.S. Remember that double-secret Arizona State University social networking project, we reported on last year? Yeah, Google was behind it, and Lively is the result.