Archive

Oculus Opens Social Doors for Gear VR

Oculus VR this week launched Oculus Social for Samsung's Gear VR viewer. Gear VR users can create profiles on Oculus Social and search out friends via real names or handles. The company, which has yet to ship its own virtual reality headset, also released two social games to encourage more friending...

Hotel’s Robotic Butler Is Not Quite ‘Rosie’

Aloft Hotels this week announced the launch of a new, robotic "butler" at the company's Cupertino, Calif., location. Dubbed "A.L.O.," the new botlr, or robotic butler, is designed to help the hotel's human staff by delivering amenities to guest rooms. A.L.O. comes professionally "dressed" in a custo...

TECHNOLOGY LAW CORNER

Laying Down the Virtual Law in Second Life

Millions of people have created avatars that live in Internet virtual worlds. Those virtual worlds include Second Life and Maple Story, as well as video games. Although these virtual worlds and games are used regularly by individuals around the world, few consider the ownership and other legal right...

Art Online and Beyond

A few years ago, several Google employees got together and asked a fateful question: What if they extended Google's technologies of gathering and archiving information into the world of visual art? The recently launched Google Art Project is the answer to that question, taking one of the broadest s...

Where Have All the Avatars Gone?

Many have already written eulogies for the virtual worlds. Dead, they claim; the avatar is dead in the corporate realm. But the truth reads like the "Star Trek" script for the "The Trouble with Tribbles" episode: just because you don't see them, doesn't mean they are not breeding like mad in a close...

Little Bird to Tell Businesses How to Tweet for Cash

Noting that more and more businesses are using Twitter to communicate with customers, the San Francisco social networking startup has launched a new sub-site to help companies learn strategies to leverage the service to their benefit. Twitter101 provides a quick overview explaining what Twitter is, ...

The Business Case for Virtual Business, Part 2

There's no doubt some companies have succeeded in using virtual worlds for branding and interaction with their customers, whether through in-world stores, billboards or other means. Wells Fargo, for instance, has been operating its Stagecoach Island aimed at young customers for roughly four years an...

The Business Case for Virtual Business, Part 1

It wasn't long after the launch of Linden Lab's Second Life back in 2003 that companies and organizations around the globe began to sit up and take notice. The prospect of millions of potential customers -- all flocking to the same destination and congregating there -- is enough to whet the appetite...

OPINION

Adamo Springs Forth From Dell, Sun Sets in IBM’s Backyard

The U.S. stock market had a really happy week last week. The market was on a long rally, and a number of high-profile technology vendors made interesting moves. The first was the release of Dell's Adamo product -- the first laptop offering that really was rethought as more of an art project than a t...

The Corporate Bargain Hunters’ Quest for a Business Model

For anybody who is trying to spend a little less money, a visit to Freecycle may be just the ticket. The concept is a simple one: You sign up for a group based on your ZIP code. Then, if you have something, anything really, you don't want -- a desk, a flowerpot, a printer, even a used Halloween mask...

Avatars in Tuxes: Second Life Hosts Inaugural Ball

In an almost surreal scene, unprecedented numbers of euphoric people are mobbing America's capital city to celebrate a new hope for a beleaguered nation. It is a celebration so huge that the bounds of reality cannot hold it in. For the very first time, the inauguration of a new president will be tru...

BEST OF ECT NEWS

The Very Real Market for Virtual Goods

Social media may be hailed as the savior of sagging sales these days, but few have figured out what social media are, much less how to wield them. Even fewer realize that games are the first, and arguably the most viable and sustainable, social medium in the mix. Unlike newcomers MySpace, Facebook, ...

Virtual World Research, Part 2: Reality in a Can

Universities and government agencies, even a few private corporations, are going all "mad scientist" on us in the realm of virtual worlds. But why are they experimenting there and why are so many drawn to virtual worlds like a dying man to a priest? "As a new part of the real world, virtual worlds a...

Virtual World Research, Part 1: A Place to Experiment

Universities and government agencies are conducting all kinds of research, both scientific and sociological, in virtual worlds -- but is this merely a newfangled boondoggle or is the research really real? "My general perspective is that virtual worlds are at least as real as many parts of the so-cal...

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