I’ve been meaning to do a post for a long time on Google Earth’s community 3-D strategy vs. Microsoft’s “top-down” approach to rolling out 3-D environments — and this isn’t it. But here’s a short post on what will likely happen with TV and 3-D.
Despite Google Earth’s 100+ million downloads, it’s not yet a “mainstream” product. Microsoft’s Virtual Earth 3-D, a browser plug-in, though compelling in many respects, is still too slow, which prevents it too from gaining mainstream adoption and usage for now.
But step back and add to this mix Second Life (and the marketing frenzy associated with it) and you have another piece of this puzzle. And then there’s the graphically rich, bigger-than-Hollywood computer gaming industry. (Hollywood and gaming are coming closer together these days.) Along those lines, Sony announced PlayStation “Home” (LittleBigPlanet) a couple weeks ago, which is a marriage of Second Life, The SIMS, social networks and video gaming proper.
I’ve speculated about how the Internet (and search) will or won’t translate to a TV monitor. But gaming, as mentioned, is already huge. Thus you have a massive (no pun intended) installed base.
I think on TV environments like Google Earth and Virtual Earth will have real traction and prove to be a way to translate the Internet into the living room. They and the virtual worlds will have more bandwidth and perform better for users than they could online. And I believe — say within five to seven years — we’ll see a convergence of commerce/advertising, video, community and local/travel in these environments. The big screen and a big pipe permit a lot of interesting configurations.
Search as a utility will be a piece of this but, as with mobile search as it’s presently constituted, would be somewhat awkward on a TV monitor. Instead, alternative interfaces such as voice and browse environments (especially with gaming consoles) may be the way people navigate a 3-D/TV version of the Internet. However, search or directional media as a metaphor for capture of user intent will very much be a part of these emerging metaverses.