Google is shutting down its Lively service at the end of 2008. For those of you not familiar with Lively, it allowed users to create virtual rooms and avatars. The rooms could embedded into web pages and used to interact with Internet colleagues. Some pundits viewed Lively as a competitor to Linden Labs' Second Life, while others thought that Lively would become a corporate tool used for virtual meetings. According to the official Google blog:
"We've decided to shut Lively down at the end of the year. It has been a tough decision, but we want to ensure that we prioritize our resources and focus more on our core search, ads and apps business. Lively.com will be discontinued at the end of December, and everyone who has worked on the project will then move on to other teams. We'd encourage all Lively users to capture your hard work by taking videos and screenshots of your rooms."
It's a bit surprising that Lively is getting killed so early. I thought it would float around in eternal beta forever, like Orkut. In addition to being comparable to Second Life, Lively is also similar to PlayStation Home. Maybe Google can hand over the Lively tech to Sony as a form of charity -- anything that gets Home here faster would be welcomed! (Yes, I realize implementing new tech would only further delay home.)