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Photos: Second Life gets down to business

How do Microsoft, Nasa, Nokia and Peugeot look in the virtual world
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By Tim Ferguson, Contributor on
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How do Microsoft, Nasa, Nokia and Peugeot look in the virtual world

With interest around virtual worlds hotting up again, silicon.com made another expedition into Second Life to check out what some of the world's biggest businesses are getting up to.

There are organisations from a huge range of sectors plying their trade in Second Life in interesting and unusual ways. Meanwhile tech companies who jumped into Second Life at the beginning are continuing to experiment with the medium.

This is Nasa's CoLab where people can find out about Nasa and participate in community meetings every Tuesday to decide how exactly the space is used.

Picture credit: Second Life/Linden Lab

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One of the projects that has emerged from CoLab is a virtual representation of the Victoria Crater on Mars.

Users can explore this part of Mars and check out technology used to explore the red planet such as the Mars Exploration Rover.

Picture credit: Second Life/Linden Lab

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Meanwhile, back on earth, guitar manufacturer Gibson launched its Second Life island - shaped like the company's famous Les Paul guitar - in July.

Visitors can try out guitars, explore landmarks shaped like guitar pick-ups and attend virtual concerts.

Picture credit: Second Life/Linden Lab

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Car maker Peugeot uses its island to show off its products and provide potential buyers with information about its model line-up.

Picture credit: Second Life/Linden Lab

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Peugeot's island includes a race track around the perimeter. Avatars can jump into the company's 308 RC Z concept car and take a test drive.

Picture credit: Second Life/Linden Lab

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Lancia used its Second Life island, Lancia Village, to launch its new Delta model, prior to its official launch at the Geneva International Motor Show in March.

Lancia Village also allows users to look around a virtual car showroom and try cars out on a virtual test drive.

Picture credit: Second Life/Linden Lab

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News agency Thomson Reuters is another keen user of Second Life.

You can watch a feed of the latest news on the screen in the atrium or pick up a head-up display for your avatar which you can then use to keep up to date with real world news while roving around the rest of Second Life.

Picture credit: Second Life/Linden Lab

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Thameside Metropolitan Borough Council near Manchester is using Second Life as an information hub and access point for its services.

By clicking on the crashed car, people can be directed to the webpage with information about how to report abandoned cars. Similarly, by clicking on the bins citizens can find out when their next rubbish collection is or arrange to have items taken away.

Birmingham also has its own virtual island to showcase potential ways in which the virtual world can deliver public services.

Picture credit: Second Life/Linden Lab

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Dutch bank ABN Amro opened the doors to its virtual island at the end of 2006 and is still developing its presence in Second Life.

And, according to Second Life CEO Mark Kingdon, the virtual world isn't suffering from the credit crunch.

Picture credit: Second Life/Linden Lab

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Nokia has a flagship store in Second Life where people can find out about the company's latest mobile phones.

Picture credit: Second Life/Linden Lab

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Unsurprisingly, tech companies are still heavily involved in Second Life. Fujitsu Siemens shows off its product line on its island.

Various computers are dotted around the island along with relevant information boards. This is one of the company's laptop PCs floating on top of a hill.

Picture credit: Second Life/Linden Lab

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You can also take a look inside this giant PC tower.

Picture credit: Second Life/Linden Lab

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Law firm Field Fisher Waterhouse (FFW) has had an office in Second Life since April 2007. Users can use meeting rooms and access information on notice boards.

FFW partner David Naylor said the firm has used Second Life to make some useful contacts and gain an international reach in terms of "demonstrating the firm's interest in innovation and new media".

He added it's highly likely the firm will expand and develop its presence in the virtual world.

Picture credit: Second Life/Linden Lab

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Sun Microsystems created its impressive Second Life base in 2006. It has an outdoor theatre, meeting spaces and video kiosks showing recent Sun innovations and events.

Picture credit: Second Life/Linden Lab

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Indian tech services giant, Wipro, has a Second Life presence for around 12 months and offers visitors similar services to those offered by Sun.

Picture credit: Second Life/Linden Lab

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And despite being relatively slow to adopt the internet, Microsoft has embraced virtual worlds much more readily.

Visitors to the Microsoft island can take the virtual weight off their avatars' feet and check out some video content.

Picture credit: Second Life/Linden Lab

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