It looks like Google is pulling the plug on Lively. After our experiences with Second Life, it would be intersting to find out why they're shutting it down. My guess is that it was more cumbersome to their user base than other methods of communicating, such as IM, email, or social networking sites. I think in many ways it's one of the fallicies of virtual worlds. When you interact with a mouse and keyboard, the very method of interaction is broken away from our real-world skills. If physical actions could be translated into a virtual world, then users would be able to take advantage of those skills to interact in a more effective manner. Until such technology is possible, I think abstract user interfaces will continue to dominate.