Friday 11 January 2008

Google Goes SLoogle

Picking up on a recent posting at Kzero I thought I should grab the opportunity to pop along to the Google island in Second Life. According to Nic, at Kzero, the island was built as part of Google's bi-annual Zeitgeist event.

The Google Zeitgeist is described as follows: 'Pulling together interesting search trends and patterns requires both computing power and human power too. Search statistics are automatically generated based on the billions of searches conducted on Google. With some help from humans, and a pigeon or two when they have time, these statistics and trends make their way from the depths of Google's hard drives to become the Google Zeitgeist findings.'

You can find the findings for 2007 here - and I would draw your attention to #8 in the Top Ten Fastest Rising searches globally.

The island layout is apparently based on the real world Google campus, and was built by the Vesuvius Group, who are clearly too busy with metaverse projects to keep on top of their website design! Since the island was a one-off for Googliers to use during the Zeitgeist activities, it is destined to be demolished. Indeed, according to Nic, the island has already been sold and is due for demolition imminently - so you'd better get your skates on if you want to have a look around.

I will let the pictures do the talking in terms of content:

The one thing I found strange about this build is: Why furnish it with all manner of models and links to existing Google products when the sole users of the island are Google employees - who should know all of this already? Indeed , time has been spent constructing working models of some of these - such as Sketchup and Checkout.

Perhaps the answer is a simple and prosaic: "because they could."

Another question I've seen posed is: Why use Second Life? After all, rumours abound about Google and virtual worlds. Again, the answer may be simple: "Second Life offers a mature, affordable virtual world environment with excellent user created content capabilities." Whatever the actual reason, I'm pleased they decided to use SL for this. Who knows? Perhaps reports of this island's imminent demise are exaggerated. If not, why not scoot on down there, grab yourself a Segway and go for a trundle.


Digado said...

I was just writing almost exactly the same article, but couldn't find any answers either to why they set up the product demos... or the poster of R&B singer John Legend (who was 2006 news if anything...)

Though I have no reason left to believe this would be a hoax I can't really see the goal of it either apart from an 'original' meeting. (Those Google guys are SO on the frontlines...).

The fact the land wasn't even in a Google 'Zeitgeist' group made me just skip this one and hope Google got their giggles out of some of us wondering what they were doing...

Timbo said...

It certainly feels a bit "wrong" to me too. But Nic is usually on the ball with these things, so unless he too is part of some grand scam then it seems it is genuine enough.

Which reminds me, I was amused to see British Tory leader, David Cameron, among the photos on display. Why? In God's name, why?

Timbo said...

And RhiannonSL (on twitter) has confirmed it all. In answer to "why show stuff the staff already know?" the island was intended for Google partners as well as employees.

Another mystery bites the dust.

Digado said...

Well the rabbit is out of the hat now - It was a Google Partner Event -

RhiannonSL: "Google Island was done for the 2007 Google Zeitgeist summit which was for Google's partners, not employees"