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||IT|| .:Google Lively:.

(Jul 15, 2008)

There is a new innovation of instant messaging software is called Google Lively.

Google Lively
is a web-based virtual environment produced by Google Inc. similar to the instant messaging software IMVU. On the opening download page, users are invited to "Create an avatar and chat with your friends in rooms you design."

Lively is currently only supported on Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox, using Windows XP or Windows Vista. The program is designed to be integrated with the current Internet and provide a new way to access information. According to Google, a Mac OS X and Linux version are on the way as well.

Engineering manager Niniane Wang supervised this Google project, described in The New York Times by Brad Stone:

Up to 20 people can occupy a room and chat with one another. (Text appears as cartoon-style bubbles atop the avatars.) Users can design their own virtual environments, hanging on the walls videos from YouTube and photos from Picasa, Google’s photo service, as if they were pieces of art. Inside Google, the product was headed by Niniane Wang, an engineering manager. Students at Arizona State University have been testing Lively for several months. Ms. Wang wrote in the blog post that she developed Lively as a “20 percent project,” referring to Google’s philosophy that employees should spend one day a week working on projects outside of their day-to-day responsibilities. Her spare time could cause some problems for companies with similar ideas. Second Life, the virtual world run by Linden Labs of San Francisco, is known for its much larger virtual world that hundreds of thousands of users can enter at the same time. But it is accessible through a separate program, not a Web browser.

Unlike Second Life, the Lively users cannot buy and sell products. Since there is no user-generated content on Lively, items such as hairstyles, clothing and furniture are limited to a catalog of pre-designed selections.

Wang introduced her product July 8, 2008 with this comment:

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.
Gadgets in Lively rooms can also run on a user's desktop through Google Desktop.

You can download Google Lively here

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