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Alas, Google’s own Virtual World service Lively is being shut down after just five months of operation. While I did notice that it didn’t work with Chrome (my browser of choice) – I had high hopes for the project and thought it was – in the end far more promising than Linden Labs’ Second Life.
(I gave up on SL months ago when my frustration with it outweighed my love of the concept.)
I can be seen (Circa 2007) waxing raphosodicaly about SL and Google Earth’s early virtual world announcements here:
However, when you step back from that picture and look at it, only approx 1% of the world’s broadband users are plugged into persistent virtual worlds like WoW. Sure it seems like everyone you know is hooked on the sweet, sweet gaming crack of WoW, but let’s face it, you “know” a small sample of people in the great scheme of things. One or two percent of a subset of those who are connected to the internet is not actually a large amount.
Virtual Reality is certainly a neat technology, and it certainly is key to a particular model of the face of the future, but that model of the future — minds forever voyaging into the deep reaches of cyberspace — is a model that doesn’t map to the current nature of cyberspace. Why is that?
Well, I (and here’s where I’m going into pure theorizing) figure it’s because Cyberspace isn’t out there. The locale of cyberspace has shifted over the last few years because of the acceptance and implementation of key technologies. Cyberspace, if the word has any real ideological weight anymore, is right here. If you look with the right sort of eyes, you can see the shape of it, even without a helmet and goggles. (Though goggles never hurt any enterprise.)
Twelve thousand, six hundred miles up there is a constellation of satellites orbiting the earth. That constellation is administered by the US Department of Defense and is known as NAVSTAR GPS . And while we weren’t looking, the gaze of those 31 heavenly bodies changed the shape of the world.
I could get technical here, but I’ll stick to the simple version. If you want a more detailed version, check the internet. However, the basic setup is simple, there are a bunch of satellites in space that allow, with the right equipment, someone to pinpoint a location almost anywhere on earth. GPS is vastly more accurate than latitude and longitude and it allows boats to navigate shipping lanes better and cell phones to navigate cars to weddings with ease.
But it’s just a fancy map, right? Yes and no. GPS co-ordinates are not so much a map as a reference point. It’s a way to take a real geographical location like Fountain Square in Cincinnati or the north side of Uluru in Austrailia and attach a little invisible bit of data to it. The GPS system allows you to attach a little bit of data to a piece of physical meat and dirt real estate.
That’s huge. That’s ginormous.
Japan’s NTT DoCoMo mobile carrier is working on new technology for its next generation mobile phones that will quite literally predict your every move. Their next gen phones will be stuffed full of senors that will be able to identify the movement that you’re making.
“Based on your actions you make when you move in a particular way (all of which the phone records via its sensors), sophisticated software will predict what your next actions wil be and will provide recommendations in advance. In other words, the phone will attempt to guess what you’re doing, and the predict what you’re about to do, which sounds just a little bit freaky if it works too well!
The work is part of Japan’s “Information Grand Voyage” research project, in which they’re trying to capitalize on the untapped data that can be harnessed through a world of sensors. Japan recognizes that Google effectively owns the Web’s information, and so cannot compete with existing digital info.”
A GPS generated self-portrait, with the world as the canvas. Real or not?
Link via makezine.com