Google Lively – browser-based chat goes 3-D

Being the Second Life officianado I am, I was looking forward to trying out Google Lively –  Everyone seems to be looking for the “SL killer” — so I wondered, was this it?

I was able to create an account fairly easily and within minutes was styling my new avatar. Hairstyle, haircolour, and a few different outfits to get me started.  Next, off to look at the popular “rooms”.  One I went into had a YouTube video playing.  Over and over and over.  The quality was great.  The repetition and volume made me want to scream. And the dance animation wouldn’t turn off.

The next room I visited had a winter theme with sound effects.  It was really nice – until a male avatar started punching a female avatar repeatedly while laughing.  I left.

Two more rooms and people much like myself wandering around getting a feel for the interface.  Some Second Lifers, some World of Warcraft gamers — all with a wait and see attitude, but thinking it was more of a lightweight chatroom interface.

The last room I visited reminded me of the ewok tree city in the third Star Wars (or is it the 6th?). The people there were saying they felt Lively had elements of the Sims (in terms of the controls), Everquest and World of Warcraft in terms of looks — but didn’t seem to offer that much to actually interact with or to have a clear purpose.

At this point I don’t think this is a Second Life replacement.  For me it lacks control — in Lively, the automatic animations like my avatar screeching Hi-yeee when I type the word Hi or laughing hysterically when I type LOL (see video) really irritated me. The range of avatars and styles was annoying for me – a cartoon piggy, a realistic woman, a stereotyped 1970s fro-wearing dude – they seemed out of place and made the experience jarring for me.  I haven’t tried building as yet so don’t know if I can build or just pick pre-built items from inventory.

I’ve never been a chat room fan – the lack of control over whom I have to interact with has always turned me off, so don’t see where making it 3-D makes it better.  If that’s all Second Life were to me, I wouldn’t have gotten involved.

So, I’ve got an avatar, I might create a room — but don’t think I’ll invest a lot more time in Lively just yet.

Here is the short video I spliced together from the last room I visited: