Linden Lab Working To Beef Up Second Life Stability, Usability
Second Life Web Browser Coming
(Page 2 of 2)
Eventually, Mono will allow developers to write code in languages other than LSL, such as C#, Miller said.
Linden Lab also is making progress on a long-term project: Allowing users to display a Web browser in-world, Miller said. Using the so-called "browser-on-a-prim" technology (a "prim" is the fundamental building block of Second Life objects), developers would be able to display the contents of Web pages on presentation screens, the walls of buildings, or other objects in Second Life.
- A Smarter Approach: Inside IBM Business Analytics Solutions for Mid-Size Businesses
- Managing Threats in the Digital Age
The inability to display HTML in-world is a fundamental problem with business and education in Second Life, making it difficult to display presentations in-world. Developers have to resort to cumbersome workarounds and a single page of a presentation can take up to a minute to come into focus in-world.
And Linden Lab is working on several measures to improve customer retention. Currently, about 90% of people who try Second Life give up on it quickly. Anecdotally, that's pretty similar to the retention rate for most Internet activities, but Linden Lab would like to do better. They have regular, weekly focus groups of average consumers brought in off the streets, to test Second Life usability, Miller said.
The company is also developing software to make it easier for users to invite nonuser friends in to Second Life for a special event. Second Life is the host of frequent events, including live music concerts, lectures, press conferences by businesses, classes, and games. Using tools planned from Linden Lab, a resident would be able to send an e-mail to his friends containing a URL that, when clicked, would launch software that (with the recipient's permission), tests the recipient's computer to see if it's powerful enough to run Second Life, then installs the client software and assigns the recipient a temporary name for entering Second Life. "That's social networking 101, the ability to bring someone else in on your aegis," Miller said.
Linden Lab is working on a new lightweight Second Life client that would be used only for text chat, instant messaging, and voice communications. Miller said he expects the client, which will run on Windows and the Mac, to be available in beta in February.
Most of these changes are tactical, patching Second Life to make it more usable and fixing obvious problems with the platform. But what about a year out? What will Second Life look like in 2009?
Miller said Second Life in 2009 will change from one grid to multiple grids. Linden Lab said in April it plans to open-source the Second Life server. The company open-sourced the client a year ago. Next year, users will be able to run their own Second Life servers, optionally behind a firewall or temporarily, for an individual event. Residents will be able to bring the same identity with them from one private Second Life grid to another.