Kevin Hanna Breaks The Silence on Google Lively
Kevin Hanna from Google spoke at the AGDC today on Google’s entry into the 3D virtual space, Google Lively. Google officially launched the beta for Google Lively this past July, but they haven’t publicly spoken about it until today.
With Second Life having over 15 million registered users, and Playstation’s Home so close to launch we can taste it, why did Google decide to launch a carbon-copy of their product? Simple. Because they’re Google and they can do whatever they want.
The reason why Google decided to get into the 3D virtual space is because they wanted to follow through on the company’s personal philosophy to “empower the user”. They want to give the user as much power possible through their suite of Google products. Google Lively has 12 basic characters, various animals, and other stylized characters for you to play around and customize to your heart’s content. An example of how diverse the customization can be for your avatar is there are over 16,000 basic hairstyles alone. The art style in Google Lively was chosen because they wanted to avoid the trap of realism. “We see how popular Wii’s Miis are and wanted to offer users the ability to make a less realistic, caricature of themselves rather than allowing them to make a creepy, ultra-realistic version of themselves.”, Hanna stated during the discussion.
One way Google is making their Lively program different from the other 3D virtual space is by making users’ spaces fully embeddable on all websites. If it has HTML, you can put up your virtual space for other Lively users to check out. If you have a visitor that doesn’t have Lively, then a picture of your Lively space will display on the page, but it’s linked so your visitors can download Lively to see your virtual space.
Hanna hopes the application “…becomes invisible. I want it to become something that you don’t think twice about using because the process and execution are seamless.”
Hanna also revealed Google’s plan to release the Interactive Google Gadget, which will release Google’s API so developers can create their own Google Gadget. After that, Hanna states Google Lively’s API will be released for game developers to create games inside the Google Lively world.
With such a strong brand name as Google behind it, Google Lively hopes to be another Google application that you simply can’t live without. Lively holds the majority of its success at this point due to having that strong product name attached to it. Hanna even stated the amount of users currently using Google Lively are “..more than they expected”, although Hanna never released any actual numbers or statistics. Hopefully, Google Lively can live up to the current trend of great, accessible Google products. Although, once Lively officially launches, the real question will be how far can a brand name go?