Internet giant Google has launched its own 3D virtual world, called Lively.
Similar to Linden Labs' Second Life, users are able to create avatars and socialise in specially created spaces. Users are able to visit other rooms, leave items for each other and stream photos and video.
"The Lively team wants to help people experience another dimension of the web," said Niniane Wang, engineering manager for Google.
"We hope you will use the product to express yourself with and without words, and to do this in the places you already visit on the web."
Lively runs in an internet browser on PCs with Windows Vista or Windows XP installed, and uses a plugin which uses Emergent's Gamebryo engine.
"Prior to this release, we worked closely with Arizona State University," revealed Wang.
"Based on feedback from ASU students and with help from the Google Desktop team, we added support for playing YouTube videos in virtual TVs and showing photos in virtual picture frames inside our rooms. Better yet, the gadgets you have in your Lively rooms can also run on your desktop," he detailed.