SL on the move?

Tateru Nino, her eye ever on the ball, reports that LL are looking for a “Senior Software Engineer, Mobile“.

The job specification is pretty interesting to read, but I tend to side with Tateru when she says, “I wouldn’t expect this job to involve putting a Second Life viewer onto a mobile device, and neither should you. Most likely this will involve a very lightweight application..” 

There is much that is going on that would tend to point in this direction: SLim was canned last year (but then it never really worked), we have the upcoming new web-based profiles which will offer an initial level of “social networking” tools – and which will, apparently – be enhanced and built upon in the coming months. Users themselves are calling for easier and more flexible ways of accessing Second Life while on the move which are potentially free of some of the constraints found in the current crop of text-based “viewers”. Ergo, it seems fitting that LL move to provide some form of toolset that can leverage (at least initially) the new web profiles and offer the potential for improved interaction with those in-world when one is mobile.

Perhaps where I’d diverge from Tateru’s view is that I might be tempted to add, “At least, not yet” to the end of her comment. While it is difficult to see a more interactive element of SL existing on small handheld devices (phones, etc), there is nevertheless a vast opportunity to be mind in the field of tablet devices, which looks set to open-out this year, with just about every hardware manufacturer trying to push funky devices running a multitude of OSs into the hands of anyone willing to buy them.

Therefore, it would make sense – further down the road perhaps – for LL to see how they can leverage this burgeoning market and provide something of a richer experience within SL for those routinely using such devices that goes being merely texting and IMing from a frozen avatar in-world.

5 thoughts on “SL on the move?

  1. I seriously doubt any mobile “ap”…. I work with a lot of new comers to Secondlife and have pretty much on a daily basis for 3 plus years. I came to virtual worlds totally inexperienced in any form of computer skills or knowledge, what I did have was enough disposable income to purchase top of the line equipment. So often I have to explain to new residents that their wireless laptop with a borderline graphics card and low RAM is why the speed and quality of their experience is so limited. That limited experience is enough to make many of them to log out in frustration.
    I suppose it’s back to that drum I’ve been beating for some time…. Secondlife as we know and love it will never be easy.
    Secondlife is a rather geeky world…. unless ones goal is to come stand at a
    so called “welcome area” and chat in voice ala a “live” substitute for FailBook.

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    1. Well, if you’re talking about the immersive richness of SL on a mobile app – I’d agree. I’d also agree that mobile tools or apps probably won’t be suited for (or even aimed at, if LL are wise) “first time” users.

      However, for those familiar with the environment, who are on the move and need to be more responsive to business enquiries and / or wish to make use of the upcoming “social media” tools (assuming they prove viable) & integrate them with a chat / IM tool that provides the functionality from the likes of Radegast, Metabolt or Libretto or one of the other text-based “viewers”? I think LL have an opportunity to supply something that will be of use to people. As indicated in my piece above, this is something users have been calling for, as well as something slightly more feature-rich that can run on tablets.

      The latter may be some way away down the road, and may be limited in capability (a-la the Unity 3D browser-based Viewer) if it happens at all; but the former (chat/IM + social profiles integration) could well be a good starting point for LL.

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  2. I don’t use any mobile devices (not against them, just have no need and don’t want to spend the money). However, I see no reason why people who have involved presence in SL (homes, groups, activities, totally bloated inventories, you know, the usual) would not also welcome the opportunity to use a very limited graphic on a mobile device to log in and socialize/chat, or do quick tasks (like check to see if they have that outfit in their inventory before they go onto Marketplace and accidentally buy a third one … ahem).

    Also, it would be good PR. More non SL’rs would be exposed to a window into SL when their friends had it on their iPad or whatever, and that would cultivate acceptance. Ties back into the whole avatars-as-commonplace trend I’ve already commented on.

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  3. Well for simple communication… IMs to email seem to work fine for me.
    Let’s spend the resources fixing in-world problems first.

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    1. IM-to-e-mail only works in the short term, and providing people are routinely downloading / reading e-mails as they arrive. The return addresses to the LL servers that are appended to IMs (for any return e-mail message) do time-out, so if there is too long a period between an IM being sent, then the resultant e-mail being read, it may not be possible to reply via e-mail.

      Again, in fairness, it’s easy to say “let’s fix in-world problems”, but the fact is LL are putting effort into these, and are also trying to respond to requests for functionality from other areas – so in this, they are very much caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to whatever they do.

      Personally, in this instance, I think the potential benefits in providing an integrated, non-graphical access point to SL would be seen to be beneficial by many people, as Caliburn points-out. It’s not really taking effort away from anything else, given that LL are also looking to recruit software engineers on both the server and client sides of the business.

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