Virtual reality.

Om Malik is trying Hive7, a virtual online community:

I think, Hive7 is in the same place. It will be sometime before the world catches on to its true potential. Skibinsky says that his big breakthrough was in 2004, when he realized that “instead of building a closed online game it’s possible to do the reverse.” In other words, he had an epiphany that web is the ultimate API. He put together a virtual universe which has rooms where folks can meet, meet, chat, exchange resources and items. What got me excited about Hive7 was that it allows anyone to customize the whole experience. You can take the code, and tweak it.

Looking at what Hive7 has built, I have just realized that the web has now gone 3D. Virtual worlds have a new meaning, and collaboration just got easier. I would let you figure it out for yourself, but I think this is the first step in realizing Ajax’s full potential. (I have some screen shots in the extended entry. Check out the one where Max and I are doing collaborative browsing. A browser inside a browser – now that’s cool!)

While the AJAX version may be new, the concept isn’t. Almost 10 years ago, back when VRML was in vogue, there were 3D chat programs. You got yourself an avatar, and you could wander around the place chatting with people around you. And frankly, even on those archaic machines, it was a little faster than Hive7 is. Mind you, you couldn’t really tweak it at all. But you got the same general sense.

While I think this stuff is cool, and will get even more impressive in the future, I can’t help but agree a little bit with Halley Suitt in her comment on Second Life:

So the question is, do the people who are all excited about Second Life actually have a first life, or any life at all?

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2 thoughts on “Virtual reality.

  1. I’ve decided second life is like my all-time favorite Liesure Suite Larry from 1989-90 on steroids and with you (well, not YOU shelley) playing the part of Larry.

    Plus, hello, you can fly.

  2. Hey Larry, “director of fun stuff”!! How’s it hanging? I wasn’t particularly impressed with Hive 7. I just tried it about 15 minutes ago. Doesn’t seem like it does anything, and I can’t see it appealing to anyone that’s older than 17.

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