The Merging of Virtual
Reality, Social Computing"> Three-dimensional virtual reality worlds such as Second Life and social networks such as Facebook have been largely chugging along on parallel planes. Now some experts are claiming virtual reality will have a warm, sunny place in social networks for consumers and businesses. IBM Lotus programmers and engineers from IBMs research groups are currently working on ways to employ virtual reality technologies with Lotus Connections social computing software, said Jeff Schick, vice president of social computing for IBM.Or, avatars might walk into a virtual library and access Lotus Connections social bookmarks through a card catalog. Schick compared this specific work-in-progress to a scene in the movie "Disclosure," where Michael Douglas character used a virtual reality program to pull files from a drawer, which was basically a content repository. Read more here about IBMs Lotus Connections software. IBMs impetus for exploring social computing in 3-D? "Lotus Connections will serve up social bookmarks in a 2-D world like del.ici.ous, but what does that look like in 3D?" Schick told eWEEK. He wouldnt provide delivery dates of the product versions of these virtual Lotus Connections technologies, but IBM isnt the only vendor looking to exploit virtual reality technology to make social connections. A company called Unisfair is working on ways to include social networking tools in virtual conferences for businesses. This will enable avatars in the virtual conference to avoid the awkward process of exchanging contact information by building social networking tools into the virtual conferences. However, the virtual reality-social network crossover isnt limited to the enterprise. When social networks opened up their developer platforms to third-party programmers, they opened the door to such fusions. Second Life Link, an application built from the Facebook platform, enables users to display their Second Life avatars to their Facebook friends. With this application, users can search through friends on both social networks. Next page: Vendors Spice Up Social Networks With Virtual Reality
For example, avatars would pop up filled with content from real employees Lotus Connections profile, displaying their experiences, skills and interests, as well as the projects they worked on. A Lotus Connections blog expressing a users opinions would be exposed on a billboard or a wall in the virtual city.