In the world today, with its stresses and its tensions we could all do with a break from reality. People take their breaks in various ways, some read, some watch television, some play Play station games, some even seek outdoor activities (gasp). But ultimately we all seek the same thing, we all seek alternate realities. Computers are ideally placed to provide alternate realities various companies have programmes that allow you to create your own reality with your own characters in your own world, you can have wars and tyrannies and peace, depending on your inclinations.
Currently the rumour mill is churning out rumours the Google is creating its own virtual world. Their world will rival “Second Life”. The rumours continue by saying that Google is working in collaboration with Arizona State University, that the students at the university are testing the 3D social network for Google. It seems that the rumours are never ending because it is said that the virtual world will be compatible with Google Map and Google Earth, that it is in fact a natural progression of Google Earth in that it uses 3D representations of Earth.
Like “Second Life” you would create avatars that would walk on actual streets and in real buildings and who would socialise with one another but unlike “Second Life” it would not become a fantasy world but would remain in the real one.
Google is feeding the rumour mill be not feeding it anything. All that a Google spokesperson has said is, ” we are always looking for new ways to help users connect …, share information and express themselves, but we have no details at this time.”
On the other hand we have a contrary opinion. Someone who is not being sold by all the rumours and hype. He maintains that it is all speculation and wishful thinking and that there is not concrete evidence to back any of this up. He is of the opinion that Google is so busy with so many diverse projects at the same time that it is only natural for people to imagine that Google will bring them all together in a large, complex uberproject. But he maintains that all of the hype was started by 1 anonymous rumour and 2 blog posts, which lead to mass speculation. He lists a few points, which he believes are reasons why Google are not developing a virtual world: 1) Google has never combined a large number of disparate projects into 1 mega project. 2) In 2006 Google Earth and Google Maps director John Hanke denied that they would ever work on an avatar-oriented project. 3) Virtual world revolves around cute cartoonish characters and when does Google ever do anything cute and cartoonish? 4) What is the benefit or appeal of using Google Earth as a virtual world?
He makes some good points and some not so good points. So what have we got? Rumour and conjecture on one hand, opinion and speculation on the other. Who is right? Only time will tell. As for me, I like cute little cartoonish characters, I think that I make a good one.