Google started their foray into the Virtual Worlds game about five months ago with “Google Lively“, a cartoonish browser based virtual world complete with flying avatars. It was touted as a Second Life killer but it seems not to have been able to withstand the weight of its own hype.
Google announced today that it will be calling that experiment quits and returning its team back to the core search and advertising groups.
In July we launched Lively in Google Labs because we wanted users to be able to interact with their friends and express themselves online in new ways. Google has always been supportive of this kind of experimentation because we believe it’s the best way to create groundbreaking products that make a difference to people’s lives. But we’ve also always accepted that when you take these kinds of risks not every bet is going to pay off.
I’ve long been curious about what it takes to build and manage a virtual world although I don’t have the time to explore them. Yet I still have high hopes for what they could mean in the future. That being said it is a little sad to see such a significant investor and innovator give up so quickly.
More on the world of Virtual Worlds at TerraNova http://terranova.blogs.com/