Google's takeover of every corner of the Web continues today with a public beta of Lively, an MMO-style social networking browser plug-in. Users create a personalized avatar and gather in custom-designed rooms to walk around, chat and perform scripted animations. It's not a game per se, but users have already started turning their rooms into virtual versions of games like chess and various role-playing scenarios.
As the community evolves, you can expect Lively to evolve into a sort of Second Life-style do-anything space, with a wide array of self-styled gaming areas. The question remains: Is Google staking its claim to the future of social gaming, or is it just another Johnny-come-lately in the newest social networking fad?