I was pointed to this Slashgear article, Google’s Failed Second Life Clone That Died In Less Than A Year, via Discord:
Long before the metaverse, there were online 3D chatrooms pulling traffic in the millions. Just look at the online game Second Life, which today boasts 64.7 million players, or IMVU with its 7 million users to date. In 2008, when these online worlds were in their heyday, Google decided it wanted to take a stab at something similar. The company designed a concept that allowed users to create their own avatars and rooms in which people could chat. This was extremely similar to Second Life, but there were some differences that made Google’s creation, called Lively, unique in its own right.
Despite those differences, Lively’s audience was decidedly small, and not even a year later, Google decided its resources would be better spent elsewhere. When the company shut down Lively the same year it was released, it had only 10,000 active users (via Computerworld), which seemingly didn’t meet Google’s expectations. Since the platform’s lifespan was so short, Lively is now merely a piece of internet history that few know about, but its story provides a glimpse into the internet culture of the late 2000s.
The fact that it didn’t support Google’s then-brand-new Chrome browser speaks volumes about how poorly thought-out this project was from the get-go. I’ll confess, I don’t think I even heard of Lively until now. And it makes me wonder if Zuckerberg’s Metaverse if going to be a repeat of the Lively story, only with more money thrown down the toilet.