- Link to Google Lively
- Google Lively Trailer (YouTube)
- Lively - Google's Contribution to the 3D Social Web?
- ZaidLearn's del.icio.us Virtual Worlds
A free browser-based 3D virtual environment that enables easy integration to social networking tools such as MySpace, Facebook, OpenSocial, and Google gadgets like Picasa and Youtube. With Google Lively, users' friends lists, feeds, and logins are tied directly to the social network. In addition, virtual environments are embeddable on any Web page with a snippet of code that can then be viewed as a full 3D environment, based in part on Emergent's Gamebryo engine, after downloading a roughly 9 megabyte plugin (Source).
First, I am not going to encourage my young kids to socialize there (at least for now)! Although, we cannot create our own animations and stuff, we are of course allowed to use our imagination to explore the rest. Of course that is exciting, but then again not always appropriate for everyone. For example, one virtual room I found, was entitled "Free S.." (you can guess the rest!) with a metadata description saying, "Title says it all". I suppose sooner or later the community will self-regulate itself from such things (or encourage more!), or perhaps we could have different virtual worlds consisting of specific themes or areas of interest.
You might also get frustrated with a new pop-up for every virtual room you visit (and a request to login again every time). Interestingly, I was in three different rooms at once, using three different avatars. Yes, I can imagine the lecturer being happy with a full class of virtual students, and then later finding out that all the students cloned themselves away to another room.
Oh, I forgot to mention that my Firefox browser slowed down and simply crushed during my Google Lively adventure. This could be due to several reasons, so I will not dwell upon it here.
Let's take off our negative hat, and look at the possibilities a browser-based 3D virtual environment can bring to our online learning environment. I can imagine integrating Google Lively (Student Lounge) with Moodle. Alright, with the existing features it might not be the right place to conduct lectures, tutorials, lab experiments, etc. However, most LMS that I have explored do not have an exciting online space for students to simply to hangout, connect, socialize and make friends. Using a LMS can often be a lonely experience, but tools like Google Lively could spice that up (at least for the students).