Google has launched “Lively,” a new 3D virtual experience social network built around the concept of each user creating an avatar and a personal virtual room that can be embedded anywhere on the Web. In essence, Google is looking to create a massive distributed virtual world, where every Google account can have its own avatar that can be used wherever a Lively virtual room is present – for example, on a blog, a social networking profile, or a Web page.
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]]”.