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Google Testing "My World" Second Life Rival? 195

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the can't-be-less-useful dept.
Tjeerd writes "Rumors of Google's plans to create a virtual world that rivals that of Second Life have popped up once again over the weekend. The company could now be collaborating with Arizona State University to test the 3D social network, which may be tied into Google's current applications of Google Earth and Google Maps."
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Google Testing "My World" Second Life Rival?

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  • Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eln (21727) * on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @12:08PM (#20744567) Homepage
    Is there some sort of shortage of virtual flying penises or something?

    Second Life is useless other than an entity for journalists to write stories about so they can look "plugged in" to the Internet culture. Many companies have attempted to maintain a presence there, but they usually don't last because they don't really get anything out of it. Why would Google's offering be any different? Just because they're Google, so everything they do is automatically better?

    Maybe Google is looking for an entry into the burgeoning banking scam or furry porn industries.
  • by hibiki_r (649814) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @12:09PM (#20744585)
    Second Life has a good PR team, but that's all they have. They really don't matter. Claiming that they plan to rival Second Life is like claiming that they'll develop an OS that will rival BeOS in market share.
  • Re:Why? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by MarkToronto (1145669) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @12:12PM (#20744633)
    I agree. There is absolutely NOTHING of interest in Second Life (other than socializing with complete strangers, who you somehow don't realize are old guys with Cheetoz stained T-shirts on [and that's it]). Second Life (although interesting to tour through to see what people have created) severely lacks any kind of interesting "game play". I know it's not supposed to be a game (per se), but at least give people something to accomplish, instead of lying on beach matts gaining .001 of a dollar every 10 minutes for "camping". *yawn* I'm bored. Meet you in SecondLife!
  • virtual inc (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kurtis25 (909650) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @12:14PM (#20744661)
    This could be more of a tool for companies and others to organize their data on a map in a new way (Google has been doing more for companies on their maps lately). What if you could drive or walk down the road to the local pizza shop and order your pizza or ask an question to the automated worker. Google has much of that information already they just need a way to pass things around (grandcentral, gmail). Flat text on a map isn't always the best. If you have a picture of the front of my shop why not put me in my virtual shop and let me help real life customers. They can virutally watch me cook a pizza and send my driver out and a few minutes later the real driver shows up at the door. It's all about organizing the worlds data in a way people will interact with it.
  • by incer (1071224) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @12:18PM (#20744717)
    Cool... So you would be able to travel all over the place using a virtual alter-ego! Imagine, you could meet your friends over the internet and go to places you usually go, only it's virtual! Isn't that absolutely cool? Wait, even better! Imagine if you could carry with you a GPS device that would allow you to be tracked all over the earth and show your avatar in the client? Wait, even better, let's make that device able to connect to the virtual world and exchange messages... You could use it to meet people near you! I mean, imagine if you could just bring out your gPhone MyWorld Edition and use it to talk to the pretty girl at the other table! Wouldn't that be absolutely cool and bring incredible improvement in personal interaction? You could see all the people near you on this device and you could use it to meet them! (I hope no one takes this seriously....)
  • by stoicfaux (466273) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @12:48PM (#20745207)

    Normally I consider a Neuromancer type cyberspace to be completely useless way to locate and process data. Functionality > cool factor.

    However, combining it with Google Earth to enable "avatars being able to walk around on actual streets and enter real buildings to check out what's inside and socialize with other avatars" might almost vaguely be a good idea. It's one thing to shop online with a traditional web interface, but it's quite another 'enter' a store and talk in real time with other customers or store personnel. It changes online shopping from a 'research item, browse for lowest price, and buy online' task into a First Person Shopping experience. I find it disturbingly appealing for some reason.

    Combining a generic, omnipresent (i.e. non-Microsoft) video/3D conferencing network would be useful. Instant messaging is great but it's still just text. Video conferencing isn't ubiquitous enough to be useful. (The unwashed IM masses do not use it.) Upgrading instant messaging or chatrooms to a 'First Person Person' experience might take group communication and organization to a new level. Imagine what you could do with political meetings or neighborhood meetings.

    I'm not saying that actual face to face human interaction should be tossed out. A 'First Person' 3D avatar Google Earth could make it easier to attend tedious or 'mandatory' social organizing events such as neighborhood meetings to get petitions signed for new stop signs. Instead of having to rush home after work and fight traffic to make a 7pm neighborhood meeting (which discourages you from participating,) you can just login and participate. Sure you lose some of the social interaction (quality,) but you make up for it with quantity (more people can make it.)

  • Re:Why? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Andrew Kismet (955764) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @01:36PM (#20745931)
    Camping's created entirely by the users... it'll die as soon as the traffic algorithm is fixed so camping is not longer needed to try and boost people's traffic. Camping is just really basic Search Engine Optimisation.
    SL is entirely creative and consumptive. There are no goals, just creators and consumers and a whole lot of chat inbetween.
    I find the socialising comfortable enough in the areas I hang out, and I love being able to script and manipulate objects 'live' with others. Great collaborative opportunities.
  • Re:Why? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by eno2001 (527078) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @02:42PM (#20746739) Homepage Journal
    Yep. When I first saw Second Life I was reminded of my forays into VRML sites (usually Java based) back between 1995 and 1997. I can't see what the difference is other than the client, more CPU and GPU power and higher bandwidth. Beyond that it's basically IRC with a 3D environment that passes for a GUI. The way I see it, Second Life is a lot like going through real life with the use of one eye, one ear and one finger. Hmmm... sounds kinda like a dalek. Anyway, I think I'll be more interested in something like Second Life when the environment is fully immersive. By that, I mean, I should feel like I'm somewhere else and have full function of my entire body. I shouldn't see the room I'm sitting in. And physical actions in the space should correlate to certain real things in real life. Being that the kind of technology to pull that off is probably 75-100 years off, I don't think I'll be seeing it.
  • Oblig Bash Quote (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @02:45PM (#20746797)
    And as we all know, IRC is just a multiplayer notepad ;)
  • Re:Why? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Saxerman (253676) * on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @04:43PM (#20748341) Homepage

    Second Life is really 3D IRC, with a much poorer frame rate than the old-skool IRC.

    And the various MMORPGs are just IRC with Auto-Attack. I agree with you, but you're missing the longer term pictures our Internet Overlords are looking upon. Most of us already 'go online' every day, and this manifests though various and unconnected internet clients which each do their own things, with some degree of overlap. The Brave New Future would be one in which an Internet Overlord can create a single client to rule them all.

    Of course, those of us in the UNIX camp of 'do one thing and do it well' would fail to see why you would want to bundle a mail client and a web browser, and IRC+various IM clients together into one bloated application that doesn't do any individual task well. (Wait, I've heard of that before, haven't I?) And while a 3D everything browser might seem foolish to those of us who use a command line, the unwashed masses might not agree. "I know this, this is UNIX."

    We've already reached the point where we have PCs with massively more processing power than they need. (Yeah, yeah. Those of you doing real work quiet down.) Grandma's email machine doesn't need that extra GPU or dual cores, or phat Bus so she can view pictures of her grand kids. But... what if those pictures were placed inside an easy to navigate virtual world! Where she could sit in the same virtual nursing home as her peers, and ogle each others grand children? Think of the new virtual real estate we could place advertising on?!

    And, of course, if you think cleaning up her compromised PC was bad... wait until our virtual havens are struck with flying.penis.worm.F7!

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