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Get 'lively' with Google

Google ventures into virtual reality with a free service called 'Lively' that allows people to meet in computer-generated versions of real life

In its latest expansion move, Google Inc. has unveiled a free service in which three-dimensional software enables people to meet in electronic rooms, restaurants and other computer-manufactured versions of real life. The service, Lively, is Google's attempt to venture into the world of virtual reality.

Lively underwent several months of testing among a group of Arizona State University students before Google launched the service through its ‘Labs' section.

Second Life, a popular website offering a slice of the virtual life, would be Google's main competitor in this foray. However, Google believes Lively will encourage more users to embrace virtual reality as it isn't tied down to just one website, like Second Life, and the software is free to download from the Lively homepage.

Users have the freedom to enter the service from other websites including social networking golden child, Facebook. Google is currently working on a version that will be suitable for News Corp.'s MySpace. As a precautionary move, Google requires users to be at least 13 years old.

Lively users can create avatars that can be male, female or even a completely different species. Now, that's going to make for interesting interaction!

The service also allows users to create their own virtual space with options to decorate each setting with furniture, electronics and a whole lot more. With the ability to change clothes and convey different emotions like characters in a video game, Lively users can also invite friends and families into their virtual realities.

It's never been easier to have a whole other life.