MultiVerse, creator of virtual Worlds has partnered up with Google according to some blogs (http://mashable.com/2007/10/09/multiverse-google-3d/)... I recall seeing loads of speculation recently about Google Earth mashing of with a second life"ish" application bringing together realistic 3D avatars and impressive scenery ala Google Earth... oh, and the 3D warehouse from SketchUp... I guess here we have it! According to the Multiverse website developers are also welcomed to start dabbling with version 1.0 of the multiverse platform- see http://www.multiverse.net/ curious about multiverse? Here's some more info from their website... The Multiverse Network, Inc. is creating a network of online video games and other 3D virtual worlds. Its unique technology platform is changing the economics of this medium by empowering development teams to create high-quality, Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) and non-game virtual worlds for less money and in less time than ever before. Multiverse solves the industry’s prohibitive challenges by providing development teams with a comprehensive, pre-coded client-server infrastructure and tools, a wide range of free content – including sample worlds for modification – and a built-in market of consumers. Speaking of 3D and avatars check out this cool app from screencaster.. http://www.scenecaster.com another startup apparently working with Google on "things"