Google has presented a beta version of brand new Virtual world called Lively (motto : Express yourself in rooms you create) and is being presented a a 3D Virtual Experience straight from Google Labs.
The project started life as a "20 percent project"; the name given to pet projects in Google Headquarters that rise and become mainstream.
You need first to install an application from Lively's website and will require that you have an account with Google to boot from and the rest is quite intuitive; Lively is Windows only for now
Lively is obviously taking aim at Second Life which overnight validates this segment and provide Second Life with a mighty adversary; introducing the concept of catalogs from which you can choose your avatar, your furniture, Apparel and Accessories as well as Rooms and Places
Although these are free for now, Google appears to have plan to sell those since "price" fields are scattered all over the place.
Unlike Second Life though, Lively resides in your web browser rather than in a separate application and can be embedded in third party pages by merely copying and pasting some HTML code.
Although the project is in its infancy, users have already created more than 600 rooms, the visual equivalent of Chat rooms.
That said our experience on Lively was rather limited since we were stuck on "Joining Room" (see picture) except when we created our own.
And unlike Second Life, interaction remains rudimentary and crude; in one instance, moving your avatar to the left using your mouse actually caused it to go to the write.
Google though might have other ideas for Lively in the near future by combining it with say Orkut... Now that would be great.