updated significantly, after reaching the company’s VP of marketing, and investorSilicon Valley company Vivaty is the latest to try to push forward the idea of a virtual world, so that it exists anywhere on the Web.
It wants to be the first to offer sophisticated features — including 3D life such as you’d find in Second Life, but also chat, and the ability to post video and link with rooms elsewhere on the Web — all within a browser. And also accessible on any Web page.
It’s called Vivaty, it’s in private testing, and last fall it raised $9.4 million from big-name venture firms Kleiner Perkins and Mohr Davidow Ventures.
The company has dubbed the experience it offers “the Immersive Web.”
The Menlo Park, Calif. company lets you chat with friends in a 3D-style room within a web page (see image below) — The New York Times also mentioned the site here, but didn’t go into full detail on how it works, and I’m still waiting on an invite so I can try it out myself.
It’s also a widget that you embed on other web pages. You choose the virtual furnishings for the room, and when you’re on a page with the Vivaty widget, you’ll have those furnishings when you chat with people coming into your room. The wall hangings in your virtual room (see image) are things you can post yourself or others post for you (you can throw up an image or video, for example, using a URL). To chat in a room, you’ll need to create an avatar.
Presumably it also lets you chat with your friends across IM protocols such as AIM and Yahoo Messenger, like what you can already do on large online IM services like Meebo and eBuddy.
Note that Vivaty used to be called MediaMachines, and it has already built a tool called Flux Player that lets you view the web in 3D.
There’s certainly a place for embeddable virtual worlds with chat — Meebo launched a chat room widget last year, which in matter of months has grown to 20-some million monthly active users.
So, for Vivaty’s potential demographic, I’m imagining first teenagers who like virtual worlds. They’ve already seemed to like the Gaia Online application on Bebo, which is essentially also an embedded 3D chat room service.
Update: Heidi Perry, the company’s VP of Marketing, and Jim Smith, of Mohr Davidow just got in touch, and we’ve updated the story accordingly. Perry adds: “The user chooses the social context, so it doesn’t have to be live chat… It could just as easily be posting notes on a virtual corkboard asynchronously. We are taking a distributed approach to personal virtual spaces and our platform can cater to brands, communities, or consumers.” The CEO has posted at blog.vivaty.com.