Recession hitting virtual worlds

Chris Caceres · November 20, 2008 · Short URL:

Google's Lively closing its virtual doors

 Google plans to close the virtual doors of Lively, its short-lived virtual world application, where users could chat and interact with somewhat customized avatars.

"Despite all the virtual high fives and creative rooms everyone has enjoyed in the last four and a half months, we've decided to shut Lively down at the end of the year," Google explained.

Even though Lively was quite lively, in a sense, it wasn't benefiting Google (and perhaps its users), enough to continue dedicating resources to it.

Lively is one of several virtual world applications, including Second Life and IMVU. Most of these services have chatting and interacting with live users.

Lively, however, had many limitations. 

Lively allowed you to chat with up to 20 people per room.  Second Life and IMVU allow you to chat with everybody online.  Second Life allows for the purchase of virtual goods, using real dollars. Lively never reached this level of sophistication, as it only offered users content created by the Lively team, and a few select others.

Granted, Google is a company willing to experiment and offer us products to enhance our lives such as Gmail, Calendar, Maps, and Blogger.  Lively just didn't live up to any of these.

Google summarized the discontinuation of Lively by saying, "We want to ensure that we prioritize our resources and focus more on our core search, ads and apps business." 

Sounds like tough economic times have hit Google too.

Lively opened its virtual doors in July of this year, and will be closing them on December 31st.  Rest in peace, Lively.

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IMVU is a consumer Internet startup in downtown Palo Alto. IMVU makes the world's greatest 3D chat, which is now in beta testing with customers around the world. The service lets users express themselves by creating and customizing a 3D avatar with a wide variety of clothes, accessories, pets, and scenes. The service has been live for several years, and it is generating a rapidly growing revenue stream from the sale of virtual currency. IMVU's culture is maniacally focused on rapidly developing and testing features and business ideas to learn from our customers what will make a great business. IMVU has top tier venture investors and an extraordinarily talented team with deep experience in games and virtual worlds.