Most of us have now come to accept that not everything Google touches turns to gold. Yes, there are definitely some things Google tried doing and well, didn’t quite work out. One such ambitious project was Lively a web-based virtual environment launched by Google sometime in July 2008.
The idea was to create a “chat experience” using avatars in which one can communicate, move around and interact in a virtual world. Its almost as if Google said “Hey if Second Life is doing it why cant we? Of course there were differences — unlike Second Life, the Lively users could not buy and sell products. Since there was no user generated content on Lively, items such as hairstyles, clothing and furniture were limited to a catalog of pre-designed selections. In Google Lively up to 20 people could occupy a room and chat with one another. Text appeared as cartoon-style bubbles atop the avatars. Users could design their own virtual environments by hanging YouTube videos and pics from Picasa on the walls like pieces of art. The rooms could be embeded into blogs and Facebook pages.
But in November Google announced on its blog that it plans to shut down Lively by the end of December. Calling it an “experiment”, the blog goes on to say “It has been a tough decision, but we want to ensure that we prioritize our resources and focus more on our core search, ads and apps business. We’d encourage all Lively users to capture your hard work by taking videos and screen shots of your rooms.”