One of the big buzzy facts of Davos life this year was Second Life. Reuters was busy interviewing folks for the Second Life audience (yeah, OK, I did it), and nearly everyone at Davos who was NOT in the internet industry was busy talking it up as important (and many who were as well, but for different and deeper reasons).
Now, another buzzy fact of Davos life was Google. Eric Schmidt co-chaired the event this year (they select a few industry leaders to do so), and Larry and Sergey plyed the floors like regular folk (well, regular folk with a 767 and billions in net worth, but at least at this event, they were not the only ones).
This led someone to ask me – will Google, with Sketchup now firmly part of the empire, take a run at Second Life? And will it win?
Others are also asking this question (TechCrunch, Benchmark partner Michael Eisenberg). But I think it’s the wrong question. Second Life is all about play, and fantasy, and alternative realities. I’m going to guess that Google’s version is going to be all about reality, and mashing up AdWords, Google Earth, Sketchup, and the Yellow Pages/Google Local. The two will live quite nicely one next to the other, and most folks who use one will probably not see using the other as even vaguely competitive.