- Think of it as a 3D version of the web where you can see and interact with other viewers on any page/room.
- Think of it as a cartoonish version of telepresence on a budget.
- It's a natural fit for an artificial economy or other operant conditioning systems for rewarding desirable behavior.
- It might have entertainment possibilities like a more interactive form of television.
- Obviously, the role based, game playing versions of this have been very successful.
Part of the excitement in this space was the fact that other, fairly big, players were starting to join it. Well, today, one of those players announced that they were leaving the space. Google announced that they were pulling the plug on their version of this space now ironically called Lively.
I never participated in Lively so I can't speak to what the experience was like. Some say that the place was a ghost town. Others say that the performance of the client software was terrible. If you have used the service, then please leave a comment here as to your thoughts about it and any possible reasons why Google made this decision.
Feb 2009 Update:The NY Times mentioned this in piece entitled How Google Decides to Pull the Plug. It was not very in depth. Basically, Google pulled the plug because it wasn't popular. It didn't try to attempt to answer the question as to why it wasn't popular.