Well, there’s been so much buzz about the possibility Google is creating a multi-user virtual world it’s kind of hard to miss. What’s equally hard for me to miss is the apparent surprise being registered by so many people. Hello? Are Google and Microsoft investing time and money in creating 3D representations of the Earth so that we can simply be impressed? so that we can download their applications and wander around them in social isolation like some modern version of The Omega Man… minus vampires? C’mon, already.
Well, here’s a short collection of links for anyone who somehow hasn’t been run over by this news truck:
Ars Technica: “Google testing “My World” for launch later this year”
TechCrunch: “Google Prepping A Second Life Competitor?”
C|Net:”Google eyeing its own ‘Second Life?’”
Mashable: “Google Earthâ€™s Social Network, Complete with Avatars?”
Terra Nova: “My World = Google’s World?”
Maybe we’ll hear more later this Fall.
Meanwhile, I’ve not seen much buzz about Intel’s pairing with Qwaq, the Croquet-based application (see earlier post – reLink). I’d earlier mentioned Qwaq was a potential player in the Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software arena, which has been slowly incorporating virtual world elements as a means to simplify the enormous amount of information being fed to users. I don’t know if that still holds (because I’ve not been following it that closely), but Intel’s interest in combining 2D desktop applications with 3D virtual space certainly suggests Qwaq is headed in that direction.
By the way, that C|Net story is somewhat amusing. While Cisco is undoubtedly looking for ways to sell more networking equipment (and I guess appliance manufacturer Haier fits into their equation; see an earlier related post dealing with that topic – reLink), Intel is… of course… looking for ways to ensure there’s demand for ever-more-powerful computing chips. Sounds to me like Drug Dealer 101.
The Weekly Squeak: “Qwaq, Intel Collaborate on Enhanced Virtual Workspace Product”
Croquet 2 Play: “Intel and Qwaq Announce New Croquet Technology”
Croquet 2 Play: “Enterprise Scale Virtual Worlds”
C|Net: “Intel salivates over virtual-world processing demands”
Wetmachine: “The Virtual Gets Real”
(somewhat related piece on Ars Technica: “Intel picks up gaming physics engine for forthcoming GPU product“)
Anyone notice all the virtual currency/economics news the past couple of weeks? I thought the previous two weeks would keep the air clear for a while. Wrong.
C|Net: “Big-shot economist to advise teen virtual world ‘Gaia Online’”
C|Net Newsmaker: “Economist explains move to virtual world”
Webware: “Zwinky’s virtual cash gets a real-world spin”
Mashable: “Facebook Virtual Currency AceBucks Raises $1.5 Million”
And somewhere out there is a story about someone familiar setting up a virtual currency exchange house. Someone give me the link and I’ll drop it in, otherwise you’ll just have to trust me.
Speaking of Gaia, I was reminded while viewing some C|Net screencaps that Scion has been busy inserting itself into a variety of virtual worlds (besides Second Life). Gotta love whoever’s behind Scion’s marketing, because at the same time I see the Gaia image on C|Net, I’m reading about some urban vinyl toy giveaway sponsored by… Scion. Which is also holding a competition in cooporation with… Etsy. Competition is called “Craft My Ride ” (Link). Yeah, it should have “, Baby” at the end, but no one’s perfect.
It just doesn’t get more true to form than that brand.
Hopefully everyone’s read about Viacom’s new “Flux” hub (Link). If not, here’s a couple of links:
There are more than a few people who think Viacom/MTV’s effort to create an assemblage of niche properties doesn’t make much sense. I tend to disagree. I don’t think of it as MTV creating niches so much as MTV serving already-formed niche communities. Either way, this article – or rather the second comment by Cliff Allen – brought their collective niche to mind:
ExperienceCurve: “Niche Marketing Is The Key To Viral Marketing”
On the subject of aggregation, the new Koinup (Link) virtual social network thing sounds interesting. A shame we don’t have avatar portability in play yet, but if/when it arrives, this sns might be in a nice first mover position. Here’s a couple of links:
What else? Well, there’s SceneCaster (Link) which I first read about over on Mashable (Link). I’ll want to give that a spin when it’s available and will probably follow this up with a dedicated post on that app.
There’s word of Microsoft giving a demo of some in-game advertising based on the Massive acquisition. The piece over on C|Net, “Microsoft demos in-game advertising” (Link), didn’t seem to get much “Talkback”. I think hardcore gamers know it’s not going away (cue demoralized music).
For some odd reason there’s been a lot of discussion about Linden Lab’s grid architecture. Seems to me to be mostly the same thing discussed previously (reLink) with perhaps a bit more 2D thrown in than I’d expect, but for the sake of completeness, here’s a few links:
Tao’s Thoughts: “Linden Lab reveals the future of Second Life”
Tao’s Thoughts: “Second Life Grid Architecture Meetup Transcript”
VWN: “Linden Discusses Internet-Wide, Cross-Platform Expansion”
Lastly, because I’m getting tired, I just wanted to point out something: virtual world companies don’t seem to be especially creative in coming up with ways to draw traffic to their worlds. Case in point: “Kaneva’s Virtual Dance Party Starts Tonight” (Link). ’nuff said.