Google Virtual World?

More rumors are spreading about Google entering into the Virtual Worlds market. An article up at CNet News details the latest rumors:

Google eyeing its own ‘Second Life?’

For some time now, we here at CNET have been hearing whispers that Google might be looking to get into the virtual world space, particularly in light of the increasing interest of existing environments like Second Life, and the success of Google Earth and the search giant’s purchase of the Sketchup technology.

Well, now we might finally be on to something. According to TechCrunch, Google may already be testing its own 3D virtual world technology, in a secret experiment at Arizona State University.”

This would obviously be a candidate for “Second World” status. Instead of being a 3D layer over the 2D Internet, this would be a 3D layer over the real world. Using Sketch-up, real world buildings could be represented in Google Earth, and then virtual world platforms could be used to simulate the 3D space of the real world buildings. The commercial applications are mind boggling.

This Google World would not be a direct competitor of Second Life or any other virtual world platforms, as it would be a mirror of the real world, where the other virtual world platforms seek to create alternate realities that resemble real life, or depart radically from it. It will be interesting to see if these rumors play out, and how quickly Google can draw in businesses and individuals. I can see the privacy issues arising already from under age individuals constructing their own personal space that is relative to a physical location on planet Earth.



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