The Google Operating System blog reports that Google Earth is considering new features, including stuff that evokes a sort of “reality TV”-style version of Second Life. According to the blog:
Arizona State University’s students have the opportunity to test a new product “that will be publicly launched later this year”. The invitation page mentions that the product is developed by “a major Internet company” and there are hints that the application is related to social networking, 3D modeling and video games. To complete the questionnaire and get the opportunity to test the product, you need to be a student at ASU.
So where’s Google in this picture? One of the questions from the form asks you if you have a Gmail account and if you are willing to get one. The product’s name is “My World” and the logo shows a globe – this could be related to Google Earth. Google also owns a 3D modeling software that could be used to create avatars.
Quoting a Business 2.o feature from 2006, Google Operating System reminds us that “speculation about a Google Earth Second Life started last year.” From the article:
“The notion that you can create objects and buildings and place them in a virtual world makes Google Earth sounds less like a mapping tool and more like a metaverse. What’s a metaverse? Science fiction writer Neal Stephenson introduced the term in his seminal 1992 novel, Snow Crash. (…) In Stephenson’s novel, millions of users uploaded customized “avatars,” or virtual personalities, and strolled the street, entering shops and exclusive nightclubs, conversing and trading with the metaverse’s other denizens.”
The blog then reminds us that “…Snow Crash inspired the development of Google Earth.” But didn’t inspire Second Life as well?
Regardless, Mashable‘s Kristen Nicole thinks the open source community will handle this one:
It wouldn’t take much to create an open Second Life from Google Earth, and one company, Unype, has already started just a project. Which also makes me think that a direct involvement from Google is highly unlikely.
Speaking of companies borrowing ideas from Second Life, Facebook is making news (again) now that The Wall Street Journal reported that Microsoft may invest $10 Billion.
Linking to a Reuters piece, suggesting that Facebook is holding out for a cool $15 Bills, TechCrunch‘s Michael Arrington says, “What the hell. Why not?”
In related news, unofficial Facebook blog AllFacebook.com reports that virtual currency provider Acebucks has just “…raised $1.5 million from a powerhouse team of investors.”
The focus of Buddy Media is to expand the AceBucks application and make it the primary virtual currency on Facebook. Acebucks will soon launch an API which enables developers to integrate the virtual currency into their own applications. For example if you are winning points on a poker application, you can convert those points into Acebucks.
Acebucks can be used to purchase both virtual and physical assets through the new Facebucks store which is about to be launched. Acebucks is being modeled after the AMEX rewards system. Buddy Media plans on launching some creative marketing campaigns via the Acebucks application.
Remember the days when anything that resembled this was written-off as “Monopoly money”? Looks like some companies think that phrase has a nice ring to it…
A little more than a week since we launched the first online Presidential debate (or mashup, as we like to call it), it’s time to announce the winner and share some additional “results.”
In our poll, which asked people who they’d vote for after watching the mashup, Barack Obama was the winner with 35% of the votes. Senator Obama squeaked by Hillary Clinton, who received 31% of the votes. To hear what Obama had to say about winning, check out our “People of the Web” story on the results, which includes an interview we conducted this morning.
Hmm… He’s already got VP experience as head of Programming & Development for Yahoo. Might Mr. Khemlani be trying to woo the candidates for a different type of VP position?
Meanwhile, over at Search Engine Journal, Loren Baker discusses the stats:
- As of this weekend, 1.1 million people had clicked on the debates.
- Of those, 429,000 were between the ages of 18 and 34
- Organizers of the online debate say its audience is more engaged and that the format puts the content in the viewers’ hands.
- On average, each mashup viewer watched 4.4 video streams for a total of seven minutes
- Clips on the YouTube video-sharing site typically run two minutes or less.
Sure, online Presidential debates are in their pre-infancy, but the 1 million number is a bit lower than I had originally imagined. For example, I’m a bit surprised that Yahoo Search has not implemented a Yahoo Shortcut with links to the online debates for searches such as Barack Obama or Bill Richardson.
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