EBM and Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC

A blog for medical students, faculty and librarians about their use of evidence based medicine, clinical literature, Web 2.0, sources and search strategies

News, Virtual Environments: With Lively, Google jumps into Virtual Worlds

Being a novice user of SecondLife, it was with interest that I returned from vacation this week to read about many bloggers providing commentary or reviews on Google‘s release on July 8 2008 of their 3-D virtual environment application, Lively.

Below is a screenshot of the opening page of Lively:

Image/Photo credit: http://www.lively.com – Copyright Google 2008 – All rights reserved.

I did download Lively today just to see how it might compare to SecondLife. It seemed easy and user-friendly to get started… although the graphics and visual details are poor in comparison to SL. You create an account, sign in and then begin by choosing an avatar and dressing it, select and name a “room” of your own, furnish it. There are several different means of finding out what is in this virtual environment. You can search “all rooms” to see which rooms in Lively have the most occupants (or those with no occupants), which rooms have the most traffic, etc.

As an example, today I searched “All Rooms” and found a room for Westerns and Cowboys (screenshot below):

Image/Photo credit: http://www.lively.com – Copyright Google 2008 – All rights reserved.

Here’s where my experience using Lively ends. I cannot comment about what was happening on the Western & Cowboy room because after downloading Lively it ran for all of 15 minutes then the software locked up and crashed my PC so… I removed the program.  As it currently isn’t configured to run on a Mac, I can’t test it on my laptop.

To read a collection of news items, blogger opinions or reviews about Lively, click here.  Writer Matt Vella weighs in briefly with this article from Business Week dated July 9 2008.

Then there is the whole notion of reasonable privacy and online tracking of what sites and when a user visits while running many Google programs. Lively requires a user to log-in using a Google account. While you don’t necessarily need to supply a real name, you do need to provide a verifiable email address and account name (which you choose) in order to connect.

So, this librarian’s point is: please consider the context and eventual use by Google of the information being collected about users, as illustrated by a screenshot, shown below, taken from the Google Privacy website:

Image/Photo credit: http://google.com – Copyright Google 2008 – All rights reserved

.

On second thought, I think I’ll just stick with Second Life.

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All photos in this blog post courtesy of Lively.com and Google.com. Copyright 2008 – All rights reserved. No infringement is intended.

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