"...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. Lively.com will be discontinued at the end of December, and everyone who has worked on the project will then move on to other teams."
It continues to amaze me that business ignores the potential of this sort of virtual world, and the virtual worlds that exist, I find technologicly unimpressive. Google Lively is, was, particularly odd in that it was very primitive. It would have been a great thing, in 1998. But even stranger was the fact that Lively did nothing to add to Google's business; ads. Why was there no ad tie in with Lively? After deliberately avoiding making Lively a part of the business model, Google pulls the plug with the rather odd explanation that they wish to focus on "ads and apps."
As an interesting side-bar, for some reason I can't fathom, Google does not allow the use of either Google ads, nor Google Checkout with Google Sites. However I can (could) use Google Checkout on Google's other website builder, Google Page Creator. Google pulled the plug on Google Page Creator in August, replacing it with the appearently more limited Google Sites.
I sure hope there's a long term plan in all this someplace.