Google has launched a new 3D virtual world called Google Lively, similar to Linden Labs' Second Life and Sony's planned 'Home' service for PlayStation 3, in which users create avatars for themselves and interact virtually.

Users can create their own 3D "rooms," and deck them out with furniture and other accoutrements, in addition to being able to add themed music to complete your personalized virtual space in Google Lively.

Users will be able to visit others' rooms, leave items for other Google Lively netizens as well as being able to stream photos and video.

PCs only

Google Lively runs in any internet browser on PCs with Windows Vista or Windows XP installed, using a plugin that makes use of Emergent's Gamebryo engine.

Niniane Wang, engineering manager for the project said: "Based on feedback from ASU [Arizona State University] 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."

A video displaying some of the features of Lively and much more on Google's exciting new virtual entertainment space can be found over on Google blogspot.