After months of speculation and reading between the lines from virtual world researchers, Google may have entered the virtual world market. We all saw it coming when Google developed or purchased the following tools Google Earth (possible platform), Gmail (user accounts), Orkut (social network), Sketchup (3d drawing tool), and Adscape (game advertising company). Google already has millions of users based on their gmail accounts and a decent platform in Google Earth, not positive they will choose to use it thoigh. Google also has Orkut, which will be a nice tie-in with a virtual world ala Keneva and Red Light District. I’m very excited both professionally and personally. Google has a great record so far in creating free, usable, and scaleable software for people.
This is big news; many communities within Second Life already use google groups for communication and organization of their communities. It will be interesting to see how or if Google is able to incorporate these features into its Virtual World Platform. Be sure about one thing, Google’s Virtual World will be searchable. This may be the beginning of the end of Second Life’s dominance in the Virtual World Education market.
This information about Google is reported at Virtual Words News. Here is a screenshot from a survey presented to students at ASU-Tempe asking them to participate in a study for “new product that will be publicly launched this year”.