Behold the future of the web – Hive7. This is the latest core-dump from Silicon Valley. Hive7 is an AJAX-powered, 3D Virtual World. It is all live in the browser, requires no downloads, and – of course – is free. Oh and in case you were wondering, the development was outsourced so it was all done on the cheap. Sounds great right?
Has the whole world gone absolutely, stark-raving, mad?
Just because you can use AJAX to do some slick tricks in the browser it does NOT mean that it is a good idea to use it for everything. Would you want to live in a house built from Popsicle sticks? Apparently, the folks at Hive7 think so.
Not only is the implementation of the site a bit scary from a scalability perspective, but a visit to Hive7 feels like an old Tandy game gone terribly awry. The user interface is something out of one of those bad educational games they made us play back in the day.
Ok, so I could go on about this for some time. As I do not intend to spend the rest of my life on this, I will make my best attempt to boil down my 7 Problems with Hive7:
1. Physical World Constraints: Not always convenient to “travel.”
2. Usability Issues: User interface physics unclear.
3. Lacks Aesthetic Appeal: Nuff said.
5. Security and Privacy Lacking: No brainer.
6. Latency and Disconnects: Duh.
7. Random bears and flowers: WTF.
I am all for experimentation and trying fun new things (almost to a fault). But this is a company trying to create and deliver a value-added service. And trying to build a scalable, interactive, virtual social environment on a bunch of duct tape script and a less than slick UI is just too much – even for a mad tinkerer like me.
On the plus side, I will say that the “vision” behind Hive7 is admirable and future-thinking. And clearly, social networks and avatars are starting to really get some serious attention. In my humble opinion, if the folks at Hive7 want to be players in this emerging digital world they have some serious work ahead of them.
For more on this see Om’s post. Later fan-boys.