A couple interesting items I read today reminded me of an earlier post here at MFG 2.0: Google, Microsoft and China Compete For Virtual World Supremacy. Well, it seems like Google is the first to convert. Today's news brought word of Google's Lively product, which allows users to create avatars and design 3-D rooms. While this falls short of the ambitious goal of a fully immersive, reality-based 3-D environment based on Google Maps data I wrote about earlier this year, it's another working iteration of the 3-D space and therefore another (admittedly small) step towards creation of a viable 3-D platform for business use. Meanwhile, back at the SL ranch, IBM and Linden Lab announced another step in virtual world interoperability, as avatars can now "teleport" between platforms. As Nick Carr points out, somewhat tongue in cheek, the Second Lifers had better hope that noone invites World of Warcraft (a 3-D battle game) avatars to the party... Interestingly, Robert Scoble just highlighted a different service, Vivaty, while pointing out some of the business reasons that he believes SL has not taken off (including the fact that you can't have more than 75-100 avatars on one island at one time, which makes real-world ROI calculations pretty flimsy for the type of global companies that might have been interested in setting up a robust, in-world presence). As for Vivaty, I checked it out, and once again, this particular release is not really business-oriented (at least outside of marketing to early adopters via social media) but that may change sooner than later, as all those extra zeros on the travel & expense line item have global firms looking hard at adopting some form of viable virtual meetings platform soon. A web-based version like Vivaty or Blink3D (or even better, an open source project like Ogoglio) is probably better placed than a large, buggy, resource-hungry downloadable client like Second Life.