Google is often the fodder of much discussion among librarians. The vast majority of librarians I know love and use Google frequently (I use Google Reader, iGoogle, gmail, gtalk, Google maps, Google Scholar and Google Books). Librarians have often struggled to figure out the relationship they have with Google – some see great potential while others see Google as a threat. Google sought a partnership with libraries for their Google Books project and suggested they would like to continue the relationship, even starting a newsletter for librarians. As Steven Cohen and others have pointed out, they have not kept up this relationship. The Chronicle of Higher Education has since picked up this story. There is some great discussion occurring on the story, so take a look and consider what you think of the matter.
Google has also become the talk of librarians thanks to the release of Lively, Google’s virtual world. I’ve already jumped in and started looking around (I’m Darrwyn if you happen to be in Lively). At first glance, it seemed to be more like IMVU, a 3d chat room, than a virtual world. It wasn’t as intuitive as I thought it might be either. I found it a little odd that you choose your room before creating your avatar. I found it interesting that you can be in multiple rooms at once (simply tab between rooms). Rooms do show who is visiting, which will result in less empty world syndrome, a phenomenon that is commonplace in Second Life. It is also Windows only at the moment – I’m hoping this will change soon. I think there is potential though. I will be spending some time in there for the next while, learning the ropes, creating rooms and seeing how it compares with Second Life. One of the nice things is that Lively rooms can be put on a webpage – could this be a new step for virtual reference (I’ll have more on this idea later, so stay posted). We already have meebo widgets on our webpages, perhaps there will soon be a Lively room as well.
Update – It’s much easier to move around when using a mouse with my laptop. If I had started out this way, I may have felt the interface was a little more intuitive than I originally did.