Tuesday, July 8

Google is Alive

Just when I was planning on writing a series of posts concerning Internet games, here comes Google and launches a brand new web browser game. Google Lively was both announced and launched (as a beta) today. Lively is a free, in-browser, avatar-based chat service. And it is really cool.

You may notice a new addition to Invisible Studio's sidebar today, our own Google Lively room. I'll be in and out and feel free to drop in to talk about whatever, whenever.

But back to Google Lively. The service is really quite impressive. Users assume their own avatars, enter rooms wherein inhabit other avatars, and chat like we have since 1999. Essentially, Google Lively adds a graphical-user-interface to the standard chat system. Its been before, Sulake's Habbo being a good example. But where Google excels is popularity. Already, there are likely thousands using the Lively service. And for good reason; Lively is an excellently executed program. The interface is clean, easy to use, even intuitive. Which, for Google's intended audience, is highly necessary.
It's Alive

Customizing your avatar initially seems quite limited. But that's before you realize there's a catalog filled with a wide selection of apparel. Your avatar can be personalized pretty well, which is important for an avatar-based chat service. Aside from text chatting, users can speak to each other visually using emote animations. The animations themselves are quite expressive as well, exaggerated body signals. My personal favorite is "speak no evil."

Anyone can create a room and customize it how they please. The catalog also has quite a few furniture pieces. Users choose from a small set of "shells" off which to base their room, and go crazy from there. Rooms can be outfitted with furniture, fish tanks, plants, tv screens, and picture frames, the latter two of which can be embedded with pictures or youtube videos. Any object can also be given a hyperlink.

Google Lively is really a fun service. If you're going to be chatting anyway, and your computer and Internet connection can handle it, why not chat with a cool avatar in a room designed by yourself. The service is actually quite similar to what PlayStation 3's Home will be later this year.

All of this is to say that Internet gaming is becoming bigger all the time. In-browser games are the new fad. Look at Battlefield: Heroes, Legions: Fallen Empire, both of these are complex 3D games that play in your Firefox browser. The prospect of triple-A, in-browser games is attractive. Its easy, generally free, and from what we've got so far, fun. And they will keep on coming; the rush has started.

images from google and affordable housing

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