May 31

Nikolaj Nyholm

Nikolaj Nyholm

Second Life meets the Web

Correction (I've been offline for a couple of days, so correction comes in a bit late): As commented below and highlighted in emails from among others Matt Biddulph, I was mistaken to assume that v1.10 includes 3D uBrowser. However, while Matt used Second Life's "streaming media feature to 'stream' a flickr jpeg onto the side of an object", it seems "[version] 1.10.1 [will bring] an in-client, 2D web browser that floats around the client" according to Andrew Burton (Jarod Godel in SL).

The long awaited embedding of a browser in Second Life is here with the recent release of version 1.10. The renderer, uBrowser a 3D browser built on the Mozilla Gecko engine, is accessible through an LSL (Second Life's scripting language) call aptly named llHTTPRequest.

As I've previously suggested this will bring the interactive richness to Second Life which will push the virtual world into a mashup with the real world weaving data back and forth. Indeed, the first interesting examples of such are already showing up including ex-BBC hacker Matt Biddulph's notable FlickrScreen.

While Matt's FlickrScreen will lead the way for the first generation of mashups which add further splendour to Second Life by adding content from the outside, it shouldn't take long for Second Life data and content to bleed to the outside world. Anything from posting of pictures taken in Second Life to Flickr, to PayPal integration into Second Life (PayPal wallet?) or Amazon's acceptance of Linden$ as micropayments, is now suddenly possible.

Brave new virtual world.

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Comments: 5

  Hal9k Andalso [05.31.06 07:15 AM]

Few quick comments:

uBrowser support has yet to make it into SecondLife. The just released llHTTPRequest functionality allows you to return (text) data from the internet.

This means that you can do things like scrape a financial page for a stock quote, but you can't yet display the Yahoo Finance homepage on a screen in-world.

My own particular mashup, Second411, is an in world search engine that relies on the new HTTP functionality. Objects in-world push updated descriptions of themselves to my server, users search against the database and then teleport from the web to the in-world location where that object can be found.

  Andrew Burton, aka Jarod Godel [05.31.06 09:10 AM]

What Hal9k said. What's coming via 1.10.1 is an in-client, 2D web browser that floats around the client. Here's the last that I know Philip "Linden" Rosedale said on the subject:

"We definitely got a bunch of code back for the UBrowser process, and we now have something that we think works on both the Mac and the PC. We're doing 2D embedded Mozilla browsing. So, we'll do a release of that, makes that capability generalized, so that you can say, click on a prim or use a script to invoke a browser window and then we'll do. . .so I'll believe we'll go main release with that capability. Then we'll do another release with the additional capability to put the Mozilla surfaces onto prims themselves."

  Danno [05.31.06 01:29 PM]

It'll be interesting to see all those computer terminals that have previously only had access to the crappy in-game data network suddenly become really useful.

I'm looking forward to seeing objects with embeded browser screens that hook up to sites built specifically to support Second Life interaction.

Also, if you can have a webserver driving changes in Second Life, that'll be powerful voodoo.

  wuwei23 [05.31.06 06:56 PM]

The idea of using Linden dollars as real-world micropayment currency is the aspect of this that fascinates me most...but traditionally, world governments have insisted on singular currency systems.

I'd love to believe that we're sneaking competitive alternative currencies into existence, I'm just wondering when the rest of the world is going to notice...

  Nicholas Clark [06.02.06 03:38 PM]

Another possibility this opens up is having shops
in Second Life that connect to real fulfilment systems.
I guess this is most likely by providing an alternative
interface to existing e-commerce sites. So Second
Life becomes an open platform for people to develop
virtual sociable 3D shopping.

(Step 1, Sell underpants. Step 3, Profit. Step 2, as
ever, is left as an exercise for the reader)

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