Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Study reports virtual worlds as fun, but frivolous

A newly released report by Strategy Analytics found that Second Life is perceived to be less useful than the web for both information gathering and shopping. Here are a couple of features I think would help close the gap:
  • Usefully ranked search results. Finding what you’re looking for is a total crapshoot with Second Life's existing search capability. There seems to be no qualitative ranking beyond popularity. Popularity is rigged by camping. I imagine there is some logical basis for the order of listings in classified search results, but I can’t figure out what it might be. For a web-quality user experience, Second Life needs a Google-quality search capability.
  • Search and locate within sims. The first problem is that it’s hard to find what you’re looking for in search. The next problem is finding any particular item listed in a search result after you teleport to it from the listing. Is it just me, or has anyone else flown fruitlessly around and around a large store trying to find an item from a search. How about adding a capability to search within an area, view a 2D flickr-like image listing and then be teleported exactly to the right spot with a click? How hard could that be?


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A beautiful thought experiment personified through the imagined perspective of a self-aware avatar. My creator's site can is at