Product News
Google Launches “Second Life” Knockoff
The search engine crosses over into the virtual world with "Lively."
Google Lively
Lively allows users to log into a variety of rooms—or create their own perfect place.
July 09, 2008 by Rachel Cericola

Google is giving “Second Life” another identity.

The search engine just launched “Lively,” a virtual reality program that is eerily close to “Second Life.”

However, this browser-based program is designed to add a “3-D virtual experience” to your web surfing.

“We hope you will use the product to express yourself with and without words, and to do this in the places you already visit on the web,” said Niniane Wang, Google engineering manager, in a web post. So now instead of using the web’s anonymity to leave comments, you can also give obscene hand gestures as well. Not really, but you can bust out some kung-fu moves.

It doesn’t exactly follow the “Second Life” format, but instead is like a giant, cartoony chat room. Once you enter a “Lively” room on your favorite blog or website, you can hang out with people all over the world, commenting on furniture, picking fights, or possibly bonding over the fact that you both popped in for a peek.

If you want to experience “Lively,” you’ll need Windows XP or Vista, Internet Explorer or Firefox, the Lively browser plug-in, and a Google account.

After trying about 50 different user names, my program hiccuped a bit. Once I signed in, I could hear seagulls chirping. There are a variety of avatars to choose from—males, trashy looking females, pigs, etc. Choose one, and off you go. It’s neat, but right now, it just seems to be a bunch of people milling about, testing out the animations of their online personas. Have fun!


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Rachel Cericola - Contributing Writer
Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at

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