Google has entered yet another space with the launch of Lively, a tool for creating 3D social spaces on Web sites, which is now available in a public beta test.
The platform lets users create and personalize their own character, so-called avatars, and their own rooms, which is nothing new: Second Life does as much.
But a key feature of the Lively platform is integration with the regular Internet. Users are able to create a room, and embed it with their web site or blog, writes Niniane Wang, Engineering Manager at Google, on the company blog.
Rooms can also be integrated with both MySpace and Facebook pages, and there is also support for playing YouTube videos and showing photos in virtual TVs and picture frames, according to Wang.
The inspiration for the platform was the realization that the current social world is too static, according to Wang.
With Lively she wants users to be able to interact using words, 3D graphics and gestures. The furniture users pick for their room should give visitors an idea of who they are, and it is more poignant to receive an animated hug than seeing the text "[[hug]]" displayed on the screen, according to Wang.