Interesting rumor is surfacing that Google may be in the planning stages of a virtual world, like Second Life. The speculation is that a team from There.com has joined Google and is cranking away.
Now if this is true, well then, it's an understatement to say we have ourselves a very interesting new player in the online persistent world space. If I was forced to name only one thing as Google's core competency, I would have to say that it's the ability to simplify complexity to the level of mass usability (e.g. their search, email, desktop search, maps, etc)
Now I'm not sure what they have planned, the rumor is still only lightly seasoned but if anyone can deliver on the hype/promise surrounding Second Life (that is taking the web from 2D to 3D) it would be Google.
On a slightly related note. Just received the most transparent grassroots comment ever. On my post a few months back about MTV's Virtual Laguna Beach (powered by There.com's engine), someone just left the comment:
"Anonymous said:Dude. No one who's played that game for months talks LIKE THAT! A 26-year-old advertising assistant at a grassroots buzz agency talks like that. Not the VLB target demo. C'mon now, seriously? You can't truly want me to believe this is really some kid.
I'd just like you to know that VLB (based on There.com) is more than a chat room. I hardly chat and there's plenty to do "in game." I do hoverboard tricks to gain levels, I play with dogs to gain levels, I ride buggies to gain levels, I change clothes to gain levels and I play Paintball to gain levels. Each level gained gives you virtual money so you can then buy things in game. It's a pretty simple concept but it's kept me busy for months."
Of course, I had to check the ip signature on this comment. Here's what I discovered: The comment was posted from a Safeco Insurance company. Looks legitimately like an insurance company to me but maybe it's just a front for a viral agency... you buying that? Ok fine, maybe it was legit... but Safeco Insurance (and what are you doing reading my blog on Monday morning instead of working on insurancy matters?)?
Ok, commenter, I believe you. You're not trying to shill the product. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to downgrade you from "astroturfing grassroots guy" to "well-articulated, insurance-selling, teen-game-playing pedophile". Nicely done! Thanks for stopping by!