Virtual world video games are yet another internet phenomenon that is way out of my grasp. Starting with 1974?s Maze War, countless online societies have developed? including The Sims, Everquest, and Second Life. Since its launch in 2003, Second Life has grown into a community of 13 million ?residents?, larger than the total population of Sweden and Norway combined. Second Life has become so influential that U2 has held concerts there and Presidential candidate Barack

Obama hosts a second life campaign headquarters. With the popularity of Second Life and the virtual world movement, it comes as no surprise that Google recently launched its free world application Lively.

While the vast majority of online residents are cruising the virtual world as Brad Pitt, a number of companies, especially IBM, believe that virtual space holds some business applications . The most obvious are business meetings, where employees of multi-national companies can meet in the virtual world rather than travel. The key advantage of meeting online versus a conference call is that attendees can create 3D and in some cases 4D models of what they are talking about. An architect, for example, can create an exact 3 dimensional rendition of a proposed building, host a virtual walk through, and take notes on changes that the client wants. IBM also believes that with the rise in online education, the potential applications for universities hosting online campuses and classrooms are endless.

More interesting is the thought that Second Life ?office spaces? could act as an online access point for digital documents. A ?resident? could have his/her own office complete with desk, notebook computer, and file cabinet that collectively serve as access and storage points online where documents could virtually be ?passed around? to co-workers. A virtual office is not to suggest that email, a hard drive, and metal filing cabinet aren?t good enough right now.

Though I am currently not an online ?resident?, if you happen to run into someone who claims to be the greatest hockey player ever to live ? that might be me.