Could it be there isn't a pot of gold at the end of the Sadville rainbow? Google doesn't think there is, and will shutter its "virtual world" Lively after less than six months.
Lively was opened in July under the Google Labs banner, the clearing house for unfinished or pointless products. Its closure merited two and a bit paragraphs on the official Google blog yesterday.
"The Lively Team" wrote: "Despite all the virtual high fives and creative rooms everyone has enjoyed in the last four and a half months, we've decided to shut Lively down at the end of the year. It has been a tough decision, but we want to ensure that we prioritize our resources and focus more on our core search, ads and apps business."
Google hasn't released usage data for for Lively, but we'd confidently guess the name is somewhat ironic. Users are encouraged by the Lively team to "capture your hard work by taking videos and screenshots of your rooms" before the lights go out.
In function Lively is similar to Sadville, but there's no software to download and users can embed 3D chatrooms in websites. Google also pitched its cartoonish environs as more family friendly and less likely to be attacked by swarms of flying penises.
Despite its famous corporate hubris, Google didn't have the Ponzi-esque cojones to flog "virtual land" to gullible strategy boutiques and people in unhappy marriages, as Linden Lab does in Sadville.
Instead, in common with all Google products, the long term plan was to plaster Lively with advertising. But the current economic clusterfuck has prompted even the Big G to examine its outgoings. Could it be that the main reason the few people who inhabit Sadville do so in order to pursue niche sexual interests? Erm, yes*. Are those people likely to be a target for major advertisers? Erm, no.
Look out for much more of this in the coming months as Silicon Valley executives realise setting towers of cash on fire would be more profitable and entertaining than many of their webtarded "pre-revenue" products. ®
*Oh, and attend IBM marketing events.