When Google launched Lively, its web-based Second Life-esque virtual chat space, we said we'd "check back in with it soon" and "dig deeper to see what Google has in store." That was a lie. We never had any intention of firing up Lively on our Windows XP box ever again after hitting Save on the post. Fortunately, we'll never be tempted to make right on that fib, as Lively will never make it past beta, nor will it survive into 2009. Google announced it was shutting down Lively at the end of the year today.
The official word on cancellation was that Google wanted to "ensure that we prioritise our resources and focus more on our core search, ads and apps business."
While interesting as a technical project — it let users import photos from Google owned Picasa and YouTube into virtual rooms — it wasn't much more than Second Life minus the scope. And Second Life's not particularly interesting to begin with.
The premature death of Lively may make the argument that Google should, could or would get into game development more moot, it at least gives Sony's upcoming Home project one less virtual world competitor.
Lively no more [Google]