Google Lively was a virtual-world plug-in for websites and blogs. After installing it on their browsers, people could interact online in a new, engaging way. Users could create 3D chat rooms, choosing from pre-existing designs and elements, set different themes and conversation topics, and build avatars.
Google Lively was first released in July 2008 in beta, and it never got the chance to grow into its full version. Few months after the launch, Google announced they were quitting the project to focus on their search tools and ad solutions. Lively shut down on December 31 that year.
When Google first introduced its virtual reality plug-in, people expected it to gain popularity pretty fast and be able to compete with the giant in the field – Second Life, a tool that’s still relevant today.
However, the reality was different. Lively never really set off and had about 10,000 active users when Google shared their decision to cancel it. The numbers weren’t nearly enough for a company of this size.
The reasons for the lack of people joining the platform were many. The personalization that the tool offered wasn’t good enough, and the controls were counterintuitive. Also, the end-product of the virtual environment wasn’t desirable for most marketers.
Against Google’s intentions, people were predominantly interested in using the tool for sex and violence. Hence, Google couldn’t properly integrate its advertisement platform with Lively, which was another blow against further development.