Google is shutting down its Lively embeddable virtual world just about four months after it was first announced, aiming to prioritize its core business.
Revealed in July
, Google's Lively allows users to embed virtual rooms inside web pages, decorate them with graphic objects, and create avatars to interact with friends inside the rooms. "We launched Lively in Google Labs because we wanted users to be able to interact with their friends and express themselves online in new ways," reads a post
on Google's official blog.
A brief statement
on the Lively
homepage states simply: "After careful consideration, we have decided to shut down Lively
"We will shut down Lively
on December 31, 2008. Embedded rooms in blogs and other web pages will continue to show an image, but users will no longer be able to enter Lively rooms and interact."
Originally, the service had also incorporated a planned API
that would eventually allow users to embed games into Lively.
"Google has always been supportive of this kind of experimentation because we believe it's the best way to create groundbreaking products that make a difference to people's lives," says the post on Google's blog.
"But we've also always accepted that when you take these kinds of risks not every bet is going to pay off. That's why, despite all the virtual high fives and creative rooms everyone has enjoyed in the last four and a half months, we've decided to shut Lively down at the end of the year."
According to Google, all of the project's staff will be relocated to other projects. The move is apparently motivated by the company's need to "prioritize our resources and focus more on our core search, ads and apps business."