Google Lively

I’ve heard it said elsewhere, and haven’t taken the comment too seriously, but it appears that Google really does want to own the web.

Google has been playing hard over the last few years. They’ve been acquiring advertising firms like Doubleclick and getting into content ownership by buying YouTube. They’ve even been working on a competitor to Wikipedia. (Who do you reckon would win in that war?)

Now they’re taking on Lindon Labs Second Life with the launch of a service called Lively.

Lively appears to offer (or will offer) similar functionality to Second Life, but will be browser based. Like all these things, Lively has started off small with a number of sample rooms available, but this is going to evolve and will give Linden Labs a run for its money.

So far though, personally, I’m not all that impressed.

Sure it’s interesting from a social evolution perspective. Virtual worlds really are just in their infancy, and will evolve and play a part in our future.

But for me, there’s one vital missing piece. The gaming. Both Second Life and Lively seem to be places where folks can congregate, socialize and create digital lifestyle goods. Even though I’ve considered it, I’ve never been able to bring myself to create a Second Life account — not bored enough I suppose.

Now if they can fuse the creative aspects of Second Life/Lively with the adventure aspects of MMORPGs, that might be worth looking into.

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  1. Dan Rosenthal

    Stropp, just thought I’d leave you a quick note: Google’s Knol project is NOT a competitor to Wikipedia, because it is not an encyclopedia. Google Knols are intended to be written from a non-neutral point of view, and as such will be, on the whole, more biased and less reliable than the average wikipedia article. In addition, the fact that they are likely to feature advertising is a turn-off to many users, and there’s no guarantee that the content in Knol, unlike Wikipedia, will be released under a free license like the GFDL or CC-BY-SA. In addition, There can be multiple Knol pages conflicting on a single topic, leading readers to confusion. I see it more as an extension of blogging tools rather than a competitor to Wikipedia.

    -Dan Rosenthal
    Wikimedia Foundation Press Contact

    (I also read your blog because I write for AoC Stratics, and work in the MMORPG industry)

  2. Stropp (Post author)

    Hi Dan, thanks for dropping by and passing on the info on Knol. I’d previously read about Knol on Techcrunch and a few other blogs, and just went back to them to recheck. Yep, it’s my mistake in the article, Knol won’t be a direct competitor to Wikipedia in the Apples to Apples sense, but it looks like Google are going to try and position it as a general knowledge base in anycase.

    I know what you are saying about bias and reliability, and advertising; but to a lot of people I’m not sure that will matter. If Google push it to the top of the search results, won’t people take it as authoritative by default?

  3. Dan Rosenthal

    That’s hinging on the assumption that they will actually push it to the top of the search results. But people don’t click things at the top of results because they are authoritative: they do it because it is fast and convenient. Because of the way that Google’s search algorithms work, Wikipedia will still be at the very top of most search results, and from what we know of Knol’s design, it may not have quite as much SEO juice to make it to the top unless they place it there artificially as a sponsored link style position (which DOES lose authority in people’s minds). Take, for example, google video and google books results, which often feature low 1st page and even 2nd/3rd page results on the topic, compared to amazon or youtube results. I expect the same thing to happen with most Knol topics (though obviously the most popular ones will rise to a high level and stay there).

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