On July 8, 2008, Google Labs announced the launch of Lively by Google - a 3D virtual experience. Read the official blog posting at http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/07/be-who-you-want-on-web-pages-you-visit.html.
A preliminary view of its capabilites indicates it is poor competition to Second Life - a virtual reality platform that dominates. But with Google's power and reputation, who knows where Google Lively may take us in the future.
You can view a promotional video at http://www.lively.com/html/landing.html
Why write about this on the library blog? At the DiMenna-Nyselius Library, we are always looking for new ways to help students. Maybe someday our library avatar may be working with your avatar to do research in a virtual world.