Google Introduces a Cartoonlike Method for Talking in Chat Rooms

Google’s version of Second Life, as explained for the benefit of an audience that isn’t expected to know anything about virtual worlds (NYT).

Google unveiled the new product in a post on its official blog — its
characteristically understated way of introducing new features to the
world. It can be reached at
but is officially part of Google Labs, an area of the company’s site
where it showcases projects that remain in the beta, or experimental,

Lively and similar products from other companies have the
potential to change the way people interact over the Web. Online chat
rooms are two-dimensional — they include text, and sometimes voice and

Lively tries to make that conversation
three-dimensional, more interactive and more fun. As if they were
playing a game, users choose from a selection of unrealistically
handsome or Disneyesque avatars. They can also create their own rooms,
which can be posted to a blog or social network profile as easily as a YouTube video.

to 20 people can occupy a room and chat with one another. (Text appears
as cartoon-style bubbles atop the avatars.) Users can design their own
virtual environments, hanging on the walls videos from YouTube and
photos from Picasa, Google’s photo service, as if they were pieces of