Meet the 8 GigaOM Mobilize Product Showcase finalists

From industrial products to a better sprinkler, we have chose eight finalists for the Mobilize Product Showcase coming up on October 16. Meet the finalists below and come see them live in San Francisco next month.

RocketOn Adds Monsters, Quests for Launch

Judging by the geek cocktail buzz I keep hearing over RocketOn, the web-based “parallel virtual world” being developed by the Bay Area startup with the same name, I’m not the only one excited about its Sept. 15th launch. RocketOn CEO Steve Hoffman and Co-founder Eric Hayashi stopped by the GigaOM office this week to give me a preview — including an advance look at some recently added features that should help boost RocketOn as it comes out of alpha.

While RocketOn is web-driven, it isn’t a virtual world chatroom like Lively or IMVU; instead, the web itself is your playspace. A Flash-driven browser plug-in with Java and open source code running the back end, RocketOn adds a transparent layer onto every web page you visit; your avatar sits atop of the layer, where it can socialize with other users. In the screenshot above, for example, three RocketOn avatars engage in shenanigans on top of GigaOM. The girl on the left is commenting on the funky glasses worn by the guy pictured in Stacey’s post, while the two dudes on the right are watching a heated battle between their pet monsters. Read More about RocketOn Adds Monsters, Quests for Launch

Will Mark Kingdon’s Reign Boost Second Life?

Second Life, the user-created world backed by Linden Lab, has found itself in an increasingly competitive market lately; Google’s Lively is just the latest entrant into the virtual world space. So I sat down with Linden’s recently appointed CEO, Mark Kingdon, to find out how he plans to turn things around.

Google’s Lively Is a Different Beast

Second Life is either peaking or busy crossing the chasm, depending on who you believe. IMVU stealthed its way to tons of users. Club Penguin found its windfall by figuring out how to reach children safely. Blizzard had revenues of $1.1 billion last year. Qwaq makes private virtual worlds for the enterprise. And there are dozens more. Do we really need another?

Then along comes Lively. At first blush, as James points out, it’s a me-too play. But Google’s other projects may mean it can do things other virtual worlds can’t.

First, of course, there’s advertising. Google can sell wall space. All those walls are good real estate for interstitial video ads. And social ads are better: Recommendations in your friends’ rooms cut through the advertising clutter, which makes Lively a good vehicle for social advertising without inviting the Beacon Creepy Stalker Guy along for the ride. Read More about Google’s Lively Is a Different Beast