Anyone who’s had an eye on my del.icio.us of late may have noticed more items tagged “secondlife” than usual. I’ve been doing research for a number of reasons, not the least of which was Warren Ellis’ recent comment that Second Life “could be the germ of the next major operating system… it could conceivably be the backbone of what comes after the web.”
I’ve learned to look where that man tells me to. At least this time it meshes nicely with what I do for a living; not the usual eschatological insanity he likes to call our attention to.
So I started to do some reading. Warren’s comment had me looking immediately for the seams of the Second Life environment, the places where it stops being all about the in-world experience and starts interfacing with everything else.
Just a little bit of investigation lead me to Mashable’s post on SL and “Web 2.0” services. Neat quote: “Clearly, SL is becoming a web service. This will inevitably blur the lines between the virtual world and the web, creating endless possibilities – events mashups, online calendar integration, even commercial mashups with Lindens as a payment option. This is the tip of a very big iceberg.”
Also of note at the seams is a handy Amazon search HUD from the folks at Second411. “Instead of teleporting you (like normal, in world item searches do), the returned links will launch the corresponding webpage for each item that’s returned.” This sounds like an interesting enhancement of the in-world search, with appropriate emphasis on remaining non-disruptive to the experience.
Warren’s had a bit to say about it on his blog, posting his thoughts as “Second Life Sketches”. He’s currently got them tagged under his general issue “brainjuice” tag, so you’re kinda forced to hunt for them. I’ve cherry-picked a few, with the money quotes excerpted here:
“As fabbing gets cheaper and more sophisticated (and uses better output materials), people can spin more practical and clever objects into SL — and a virtual world becomes a traffic conduit and searchable storage space for literally millions of Useful Objects You Need Right Now. And that right there is a piece of Future.”
On No-Entry fields in Second Life: “I may not have the inalienable right to come in and use your toilet, but if I don’t have the right to cross the fucking road or fly over your house while a few hundred meters in the air, you have some serious issues, and so does the system.”
On abandonment: “It’s eerie, the way this place can seem so utterly fucking desolate sometimes. … You have to wonder what it feels like sometimes at Linden Labs, SL HQ, looking at this vast virtual universe they’ve generated, and a third of the population of fucking Boston logging in once a week. Some days, it must feel like they threw a universe and no-one showed up.”
There’ll be more as I find it.