ExitReality launches: virtual spaces come to social networking
Melbourne/ London based ExitReality launched this morning after some 5 years in development. Unfortunately due to something else coming up I decided to skip the official launch event, but here’s the bits you’ll want to know.
ExitReality transforms the social networking experience by offering virtual versions of every social network site profile, or any page on the web, on the fly and in real time. Users visiting a site or profile at the same time can interact, or simply browser the content within the space.
The 3D space created includes any rich media content on the site, and external sources can be dragged into a space, and all items can be copied. The platform is built on open standards including Collada, VRML and others, meaning that existing 3D objects built on the same standards can be easily included in any 3D space, including most objects from Google 3D/ SketchUp.
One of the coolest features is the offering of a “virtual space search engine” that allows anyone with their plugin to enter any 3D space on the web built on open standards, and when I lasted visited the company, there was over 3000 spaces with some incredible builds.
The business model revolves around the creation of custom spaces and advertising for site owners. The first announced deal was with Carls Jr, and since then Blinx has also come on board. Otherwise the service is free to use, and anyone can customize their space. Notably though this isn’t Second Life, and you don’t set up something external to your site; instead the space starts based on content on your site, and you go from there. The benefit there is that not only does every page online have a space (if you never use it, users who visit your site have one generated automatically), but site owners don’t lose traffic as the views within ExitReality a literally a 3D version of your site, calling your items, and counting towards your page views.
It’s a cool service, well implemented, but it does face some challenges, the biggest being Google. The first thing I thought when Google released Lively is that ExitReality is going to take a hit, but as it turns out, Lively is nearly a complete failure, so there’s still lots of room. ExitReality overcomes the boredom aspect of Lively by being a browsing experience, so finding fresh content is as easy as visit a new site. The other challenge is the reliance on a browser plugin, coupled with it being available for Windows. Asking users to install a plugin can be difficult, but what the service does would be a challenge any other way. In terms of Mac support, every time I’ve visited the company I’ve asked about it, and am always told soon. Hopefully one day
My two previous videos on ExitReality below, including an interview I did back in April for TechCrunch. And no, I didn’t pick the music on the second one
Exit Reality from Duncan Riley on Vimeo.