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End of life for Google's Lively

Tateru Nino

One of the good things about Google is that they try stuff. They can afford to try out projects, and don't stick with what isn't working. Well, it appears that their Lively virtual environment chat-rooms haven't worked out. Google will be shuttering the Lively service on 31 December 2008, less than six months after launching.

Lively's Web-site -- launched to the public on July 9 this year -- will remain up, and the images of the rooms preserved, but the rooms themselves will no longer be active. This seems to also end Google's plans to leverage Lively as a games-platform. It isn't clear at this point what it means for Google's partner, X-Ray Kid Studios who has been working on Lively for the last two years, and was increasingly positioned as Google's games division.

It likely has other projects on at the moment, but the decision to put Lively on ice must have been a hard one, nonetheless. No specific reasons have been given for the decision to close, though being targeted at ordinary people all the sex and griefing might have had an influence on the decision.

For those of you who missed out on Google's Lively, it was a software download that enabled sort of 3D chatrooms in your browser. It's essentially what you'd get if you mixed IMVU or Vivaty with Metaplace. Not a virtual world style of environment like Second Life or Entropia there were still ambitions of both gaming and microtransactions. In the end, perhaps, Lively simply overlapped the turf of too many existing competitors without delivering on a compelling experience of its own.

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