Open to the public just today, it seems hard to believe that Google's new Lively service is the much-vaunted virtual world product Project Snowcrash aka MyWorld that has been in secret beta-testing for some time.
Lively is a series of web-embeddable virtual spaces (think Metaplace) that function as a series of otherwise disconnected chatrooms (think IMVU or Twinity). You download the browser plugin for Firefox or Microsoft Internet Explorer (both Windows only, sorry folks), sign in with your google account, create a room or join one and you're ready to go. Just make sure you've signed into the Lively website at least once -- otherwise you'll have the Joining Room message forever.
A selection of 'hip' human and furry avatars are available, along with an assortment of clothing. There is no user-created content at this time. We'll have some more impressions for you once we've given this a once-over around the office, so stay tuned.