Google launched Lively today, which is basically their effort at Second Life. But it might not be all nerds and emos like Second Life, it actually looks moderately cool. It runs in a browser (doesn’t need any software download), and Google already have about 40 million users using Gmail, which includes Gtalk, which is now part of Lively.
Users can create their own avatars (which are also more comic-book like than Second Life), and then create rooms where they can meet their friends. There’s not one big world where everyone is like in Second Life, but apparently that’s on the way.
Google didn’t just launch this so people could see avatars of the friends they’re talking to, if it does take off it will be a massive advertising platform, and it will be completely controlled by Google (which everyone said about Second Life too, but that’s still just nerds and emos).