Known as 'Lively,' the platform will allow users to design and operate small 3D rooms which can then be embedded into blogs and web sites.
Unlike Second Life, which is adult-only and boasts a bustling adult economy, Lively promises that it will not allow explicit content.
The service will also be open to users as young as 13 and will place strict controls on such things as bullying and harassment.
By Wednesday afternoon, however, the service appeared to be a bit more " Lively" than Google had hoped for. Two of the five most occupied "rooms" on the service solicited "sex" in both their title and description.
One room boasted as many as 3,724 'occupants.' Other rooms could also be found advertising such themes as 'cyber sex' and 'hot college girls.'
The company did not return a request for comment at the time of publishing.
Pornography worries aside, the company hopes that the site will combine the social networking features of its embedded media and gadget programs with the 3D experience of such worlds as Second Life.
The Lively project began as a "20 per cent" project for Google engineering manager Niniane Wang. Google allows its employees to spend up to 20 per cent of their work time on their own projects.
"A while ago, I looked around the social web and wished that it could be less static," explained Wang.
"Sure, you can leave a comment on a blog or write a text blurb on your social networking profile. But what if you want to express yourself in a more fun way, with 3D graphics and real-time avatar interactions?"
Google's 3D world a bit too 'Lively'
By Shaun Nichols on Jul 10, 2008 3:01PM