Rumors of Google’s plans to create a virtual world that rivals that of Second Life have popped up once again over the weekend. The company could now be collaborating with Arizona State University to test the 3D social network, which may be tied into Google’s current applications of Google Earth and Google Maps.
I really like Google’s 3D model builder, SketchUp, but was frustrated because you can’t really interact with (walk around in) the models you create, and the free version does not let you export the models to other programs, so I did not explore it much.
Google never releases a product until it’s thoroughly ready for the general public, so I have high hopes for the user interface attached to Google’s 3D world (whatever it should be like).
How will Google make money off of this? In-world ads? Virtual shopping malls? I have no idea.