Maria Korolov wrote at Hypergrid Business some interesting ideas about the Linden Lab Viewer version 2 (LLV2) and how LL is at the same opportunistic crossroad America Online was with the idea behind owning Netscape. Maria's argument is for Linden Lab allowing multi-grid support in their official viewer.

Linden Lab now has the opportunity to own the relationship with the world’s metaverse travelers by releasing a viewer that can handle multiple grids.

However, I frankly disagree. In fact, LLV2 actually creates more difficulty for all these "open grids" with regard to gaining any real popularity and it's a set-back for them in the relevancy department.

I see a lot of blog posts about all the other grids out there, including on Hypergrid Business blog. A noble effort on all their parts to champion and attempt drumming-up interest in those other grids, even though from where I stand, it appears to be a frivolous effort - but someone has to do it I suppose.

In truth, though Maria's comparison of AOL/Netscape paradigm to LindenLab/V2 is a good one to help the uninitiated understand what she is trying to say and a good summary, it also is an entirely different paradigm.

And here is why Maria and all others thinking like her are wrong...

AOL was a "walled garden" and Second Life (Agni grid) is a "walled garden": I agree 100-percent. However, Netscape (and all browsers) are just "windows" to the Internet - just like the Linden Lab Viewer is a "window" into the Second Life and other grids. Think "world-wide "grid" if you will.) And if each grid were like a web site, the idea would be to "bounce" from grid to grid as easily and cleanly as we do from web site to web site. But the Internet proper (Well, the Worldwide Web any way as it is really only a small part of the Internet) is still segregated. All grids are still "walled gardens". Until now.

Open sim and others like it are *not* the world-wide grid. They are just different "walled gardens". Albeit, what Maria is really speaking on here is in the likes of: AOL connecting to Compuserve, Connecting to Prodigy, connecting to local and national Bulletin-Board-Services...

All a bunch of walled gardens connecting through tunnels to other walled gardens, while the "world-wide-open" is still out there, outside. AOL provided "windows" to that open space outside - and so, AOL is still relevant even to this day. And so now, too does Linden Lab with Viewer 2 and the "Shared Media" feature.

Linden Lab is literally doing exactly what AOL did: Walled garden with "windows" (portals) out to that wild place we call the "rest of the Internet". This solidifies Linden Lab's place in virtual worlds. Period. Now, there is no need (from an individual perspective) for other grids. Who cares? For what reason would I go to any other grid now?

Linden Lab allows windows out to the world-wide-wonder from within its "walled garden" - that's all that needs be done, save creating a window from the outside looking in (browser-based viewer or means of getting in-world.)

Frankly, I see V2 and this Shared Media ability as actually causing the "other grids" as becoming even more irrelevant (in the "public-at-large" perspective) than they are right now, and it is that irrelevancy that they are climbing uphill trying to get away from. The problem with all these other grids is: no one knows about them, they are too difficult to get in and out of (my own preferred viewer does not have the built-in ability - so I must jump through hoops to do it - why bother?) and because of these: there is no one there.

The Second Life paradigm is social in nature. I don't want to go to an open sim grid and feel like I am a cast away all by my lonesome self. Additionally, until there is a strong monetary economy thriving... I am afraid (in my own hypothosis of course) that they will languish slowly and painfully. They won't "die" - but we are still at the very least, a decade or more away before they will become "relevant" to the public at large. Right now they are simply the turf and interest of "techno-geeks".

Linden Lab's V2, in my mind, actually causes a set-back for these other grids with regard to any real "reason" for visiting them. I can now go into "official" Agni grid and stay there - because I have access to the whole world-wide-wild-wonder from my virtual easy-chair.

I have no reason to go anywhere else.

link: Will Second Life be the next Netscape? - Hypergrid Business

[Update - see the comments below as a multi-grid experience I have not had is more clearly explained to me - which renders my comments above about irrelevancy more or less misguided, for which I apologize. As much as I follow blogs and even Hypergrid Business blog specifically, it seems the actual explanation of things as described below simply isn't happening enough. Here I am: four-year veteran of SL, adept at all things grid and viewer and yet, I was not aware of this ability. What about the average user?

The "build it and they will come" routine is a pipe-dream for anyone and "customer education" must be fast and fierce, no matter how "easy" the actual process might be.

Based on the descriptions Maria has provided there is still one glaring problem: if I can teleport from Second Life Agni grid-proper into one of the open-sim grids so easily, how do I discover where to go and learn the teleport "address"?

For instance, I intend to try-out these steps Maria describes below, but how will I know where to go? This is a real problem. Yes, there are web links provided, but the real solution would be a way to provide a directory in-world.

Maria: SLV2 has the new "Media Sharing" feature - even though it's just a cube with one face showing a web page: someone should make a HUD that shows the links you provide.]

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