Google Decides Lively is Dead

Just four and a half months ago, Google launched a new 3D, interactive chat service called Lively, which enabled users to create virtual world avatars and talk with other lively users in 3D spaces. But today, Google announced it will be shutting down Lively at the end of December, saying it wants to focus on its core business activities, including online advertising and search.

“Google has always been supportive of this kind of experimentation because we believe it’s the best way to create groundbreaking products that make a difference to people’s lives,” Google wrote in its company blog. “But we’ve also always accepted that when you take these kinds of risks not every bet is going to pay off.”

At launch, LIvely was seen as as a type of competition for Linden Labs’ Second Life, and a possible a sign that virtual worlds might be going mainstream.

Linden Labs recently debuted a preliminary version its own lightweight instant messaging client, dubbed SLim, that enables Second Life users to chat via text and voice with in-world friends without having to log in to the entire virtual world environment.