Google rumoured to be building a virtual world

Techcrunch yesterday reported rumours that Google is building a Second Life competitor.

I have a couple of observations/thoughts about that :

  1. Is it me or are virtual worlds suddenly more fashionable than toga parties in freshers week? To my knowledge just about all the major tech companies have a play in this area now – and for many (Sony, Microsoft, and now Google) the play is to build their own world. Also I am seeing lots of virtual world business plans and am talking at two conferences on the subject before the end of the year.
  2. Distinct strategies seem to be emerging, or at least being talked about with a clarity I haven’t seen before. They include virtual world for kids (Club Penguin, Habbo), virtual world come game (World of Warcraft, Eve Online etc.), virtual world as anything you want it to be (Second Life), virtual world as social network extension (which is where Google seems to be heading) and virtual world with a content angle, which is a mix of the last two or three categories (Doppelganger, Playdo).

All of which leaves me increasingly excited about this segment. As I’ve said before I think Second Life will come through the current bout of negative sentiment and we will see some big businesses built in this space.

  • Nic
    I like this commentary on virtual worlds.
    http://russelldavies.typepad.com/advertising_practitioner/2007/09/the-trough-of-d.html

    I would chance my hand that the new worlds that you’re describing are the first generation. that all these big boys need to fail first before we get into the The Slope Of Enlightenment?

  • Nic
    I like this commentary on virtual worlds.
    http://russelldavies.typepad.com/advertising_practitioner/2007/09/the-trough-of-d.html

    I would chance my hand that the new worlds that you’re describing are the first generation. that all these big boys need to fail first before we get into the The Slope Of Enlightenment?

  • nic

    Hi Paul – the current generation of virtual worlds will not be the final answer but I think there will be a lot of money made out at companies that don’t end up being the final winners when the market reaches maturity.

    Think Lycos, Alta Vista, and Inktomi in the early generation of the internet.

  • nic

    Hi Paul – the current generation of virtual worlds will not be the final answer but I think there will be a lot of money made out at companies that don’t end up being the final winners when the market reaches maturity.

    Think Lycos, Alta Vista, and Inktomi in the early generation of the internet.

  • Yarden

    Hi Nic,
    This is so “predictable”?

    I remember us discussing this possibility at that IBM event, when was it two months ago?

    I’m sure Google will do something impressive technically and open (as in API).
    Interesting times.

    cheers,

  • Yarden

    Hi Nic,
    This is so “predictable”?

    I remember us discussing this possibility at that IBM event, when was it two months ago?

    I’m sure Google will do something impressive technically and open (as in API).
    Interesting times.

    cheers,

  • nic

    I think it will be interesting to see what they come out with. No one has done this brilliantly yet – arguably with the exception of the kids worlds – and Google doesn’t have a great track record in building apps.

  • nic

    I think it will be interesting to see what they come out with. No one has done this brilliantly yet – arguably with the exception of the kids worlds – and Google doesn’t have a great track record in building apps.

  • I am seeing lots of virtual world business plans and am talking at two conferences on the subject before the end of the year.

  • I am seeing lots of virtual world business plans and am talking at two conferences on the subject before the end of the year.