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Pondering Google's Project in Social Space  (View post)

Pierre S [PersonRank 10]

Monday, January 29, 2007
8 years ago4,622 views

2 possibilities:
Niniane has definitely moved away from 3D as she's shown with Google Desktop, or after a sucessful project, more liberty in choice was given to her, and she decided to go back to what she knows, 3D that is.

Time will tell.
But given the time she's working on it and the brainpower involved, it has to be really huge.

justinf [PersonRank 10]

8 years ago #

anyone remember the "lords of midnight" game?
i keep thinking that something like that would rock in Google Earth. graphics dont have to be complex, but the social aspect /strategic stuff would be immense (i.e. controlling an army and having adventures...)

Peter [PersonRank 0]

8 years ago #

someone got an award for Google Desktop?

sheesh. what does it take to get reprimanded at Google? maybe, like, personally dragging a Chinese student dissident from her computer chair, torturing her, and hanging her in public?

jilm [PersonRank 10]

8 years ago #

Google MMORPG? Why should Google start to develop games?

Reto Meier [PersonRank 10]

8 years ago #

jilm: I don't think it would have a 'game' aspect so much as a venue for social interaction. Second Life is a start, but it's very hard to create decent 3D models in it, Google's got Sketchup which makes it fairly trivial to create nice looking models. Plus in SL you have to pay for the privilege.

A lot of what makes MySpace popular (apart from the social aspect) is the integration of videos and pictures, so if Google can create a compelling free 3D world that integrates well with existing Google services...

Philipp: I agree, Google Earth would be a poor 'main' environment, but it would be great to be able to walk around downtown New York, or visit the Pyramids in a virtual world. I would see Google creating a collection of Worlds where Earth is just one of many.

jilm [PersonRank 10]

8 years ago #

Why? Such a thing could attract mostly very young audience, does Google want (and is able) to monetize children, is that their priority to develop such a complex project?

Reto Meier [PersonRank 10]

8 years ago #

Have you had a a look at MySpace recently? How old do you think their core audience is?

There's a lot of money to be made advertising to a very young audience – with just as much money to be made selling advertising to those who advertise to young people.

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

8 years ago #

I predict it will be a social space with a question-and-answer aspect to the interaction. Perhaps Google terminated Google Answers to free up a bit of space for it.

Mambo [PersonRank 10]

8 years ago #

Am I wrong in thinking Orkut is a "social space"? Surely it'll just be an ultra revamped version of that...

Brock [PersonRank 0]

8 years ago #

I freely admit I have no feeling for what this project might be. Ninianne has done a lot of 3D work, but she's done a lot of non-3D work too. Before I made any conjecture as to what this project might entail, I would want to know more about the backgrounds and skills of the rest of the team. If there'a s strong theme of 3D, then maybe this would be on to something. Until then, I'm still thinking it's a new "page layout", like a revamped Orkut or Google Groups, but with more (cool, well designed, integrated with the rest of Google) social features. If it were a MySpace competitor it would probably be a "Google Page Creator, with Gmail's chat feature, G-Calendar for scheduling concerts and meetups, Google Groups integration, plus 'new, cool stuff'" There's a chance (if it's complicated enough) that a browser could not handle the workload and it will require its own application broswer (like Google Earth). Ninianne's work on GDS would make sense there. Especially if the program is available as a "super-plugin." Personally I hope that's not the case, since most of the time I'm at work with just IE to access services.

I think the future of Google Earth can be implied by the recent "campus mock-up" competition that Google has announced. Eventually Google will want all of the buildings in the world "Sketched" into Google Earth, so that person could "zoom all the way" to the first-person perspective. Whether they can do that with satellite imagery (even with whatever NASA is providing them) and fancy algorithms remains to be seen.

I'm not sure how this would have any impact on a social project, however. There would be major privacy concerns with advertising your "real" address in a social project (like MySpace), since anyone else in the virtual world could easily track you down IRL, (and the media thinks that MySpace predators are dangerous ...), and "living" anywhere but your "real" address would be "weird." You'd either have to live at home or be a virtual hobo, hanging out in public spaces in strange cities.

Eh, whatever Ninianne's up to, I'm sure it will be interesting.

Reto Meier [PersonRank 10]

8 years ago #

There's good evidence it's not just an Orkut upgrade.

Niniane herself describes the secret social *application* as having has a C++ desktop client (check her resume) – Orkut doesn't need a client, nor would any sort of upgraded social website. I'd say it's pretty unlikely that any Google website would need a desktop application unless it was more than just a mashup of existing Google services.

The fact that there's a desktop client talking to a Java server, strongly implies that it's some sort of social desktop application. Of course I could be wrong, no one from Google's telling us anything! ;)

Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 10]

8 years ago #

Just because Niniane is a C++ developer doesn't mean *this* project is C++ based or a desktop app. She's a "tech lead / manager" so she could easily just be telling people what to do rather than showing them how to do it. And she worked on Gmail (which isn't a desktop app either).

<< Hi Niniane! Can you tell us what you do at Google?

Hi, I am a tech lead / manager at Google. >>

From: blogoscoped.com/archive/2006-1 ...

Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 10]

8 years ago #

Reto Meier said:

<< Niniane herself describes the secret social *application* as having has a C++ desktop client (check her resume) ... >>

Her resume says:

<< 11/2005 – present, Tech lead / manager, confidential project

Created vision for a confidential project. Got it chartered by execs.
Built and led a team of engineers through technical design and implementation, in C++ and Java. >>

This doesn't say the C++ and Java is being used to create C++ desktop client / server architecture. And since Googlers write alogorithms in C++ (as she says lower down her resume) it could easily be any number of Googley-web-based applications...

Andrew Hitchcock [PersonRank 10]

8 years ago #

My prediction is a cross between Microsoft's Photosynth and Google Earth... mainly because that is what I'd want to work on if I was at Google :)

Imagine being able to walk through cities and landscapes. The initial data is provided by satellite image and the 3D buildings they already have. As images are added (maybe found on the web and imported automatically, for example, from Flickr (if they are geotagged), or added manually by users), the server incorporates them into 3D landscape (if it can find the location). This allows for a highly detailed 3D model of the world. Also, since digital images are time stamped, you can browse through time and watch how an area changes.

DPic [PersonRank 10]

8 years ago #

At this point, my mind is so full of wonderful, fantastic speculations that i am unable to even decide which i think will be it. I really have no idea not do i have any way of telling. All i can say is that i can not wait and i am sure that this will be awesome

Reto Meier [PersonRank 10]

8 years ago #

Tony: Here's the thing, her resume has changed recently (sorry, I hadn't noticed the change!), possibly to obscure details for those of us hunting for them(?)

The secret project entry has been abbreviated – it used to say this:

<< * Envisioned and chartered a confidential project in the social application space. Spec'ed out vision and got buy-in from execs.
   * Led a team of engineers through technical design and implementation of client (C++) and server (Java).
* Convinced artists, PM, UI designer, and engineers around the company to join the team or contribute 20% time. >>

Notice, the old resume explicitly specified a c++ client and Java server (not to mention artists and a UI designer). Not sure when it changed (or if it changed to obscure the details), but there you go!

dpneal [PersonRank 10]

8 years ago #

anyone got a rough idea how long this project has been going on?

Reto Meier [PersonRank 10]

8 years ago #

According to her resume, it's been going since November 2005.

Mambo [PersonRank 10]

7 years ago #

... that's one long project. This something is "the one".

Gwyneth Llewelyn [PersonRank 0]

7 years ago #

Well, the most obvious model (assuming integrating existing technologies together) would be to use the open sourced Second Life client and feed the data from Google Earth to create the virtual landscape, and converting SketchUp models to the primitive-object-based model used by Second Life. Google would then sponsor that development by having all the fancy tools of Google Earth, and the ads sponsoring these, built-in into a modified Second Life client.

So, they'd have a Google-modified VW client (Second Life), the landscape (Google Earth), in-world buildings (SketchUp), and a revenue model (searches sponsored by ads) — all integrated into a social space that is provided by the Second Life model. The beauty of it is that they would not require any sublicensing, special agreements, heavy development on the client, or even buying Linden Lab. They could have it all together :)

And they wouldn't need even to sponsor an "in-world economy" or something like that. Using the same client, users could just jump over the Second Life metaverse, tweak their avatars, create the content they wanted there, and then log back in to the Google VW grid. Google's focus would still remain the same as for Google Earth — this is mostly important for their sales department, which would simply continue to sell ads on Google Earth like they do today, and just add "oh, we now allow our users to view our Earth database inside a Second Life-compatible environment".

Sure, there will be lot of integration to do. However, if the project at Google really began as far back as November 2005, they're doing it the "hard way" — all from scratch. I wouldn't reinvent the wheel. Their model of using Jabber for Gtalk and allowing networks of Jabber-based IM systems to federate with them is a much more clever approach. They should simply do the same using Second Life's open source client and open protocol, tweak it to their own taste, and launch a working application in about six months — and federating with Linden Lab to allow a contiguous grid. "Earth" and "Another Earth" would then be the two possible options for someone having downloaded the SL-compatible client from Google :)

However, corporate decisions will very likely override this concept ;) And Google is soooo good at reinventing the wheel! So we'll see what happens...

Elias Kai [PersonRank 10]

7 years ago #

It can be a social space where users can create their own 3D representative using sketchup, or any sensors that can represent your real profile and you can add it or travel to any geographical area , anytime you want and meet or interact with others.

You can begin meeting people using orkut than gmail and when you are face to face pickup Gtalk and see or talk to them.

In this world, Advertising of course is allowed and Google can manage to distribute the bidding in accordance with population existence.

Hey, you can even pay cash and see your physical transaction using Google CheckOut, play p oker, visit cas inos, watch movies and get to Manchest United game or Los Angeles Lakers, pay and view others (from same community) watching the live Games.

This can be called Googland, and after this you can go for 5000 usd to the GooglMoon using the latest Nasa Google product.

This thread is locked as it's old... but you can create a new thread in the forum. 

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