Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Finding Your Way with Second Life Viewer 2.0

Unless you have been living under a virtual rock pile, it's likely you've heard that Linden Lab has released the much anticipated "Viewer 2.0".   No, the world didn't end, in fact the virtual world has taken on an entirely new dimension.

Viewer 2.0 is packed with new metaphors and features, and plenty of people have blogged about the new features and Linden Lab has done an admirable job of developing transition tools.

What's most compelling is that the new viewer also includes a break out new feature the Lab has trademarked Shared Media and is what most of us "oldbies" thought may never materialize.  From Tom Linden's post:
Viewer 2 Brings the Web Into Second Life
Yes, you heard that right. Shared Media™, a standard capability in Viewer 2, makes sharing standard Web-based media and content in Second Life easy, and enables content creators to make more compelling, interactive experiences. Content creators can now place Web pages, video, Flash content, and other web media, onto any surface in Second Life. We expect that Shared Media will inspire a creative renaissance in Second Life as Residents explore more immersive and integrated inworld experiences and business opportunities such as gaming or theaters. And, for enterprises using Second Life as a work environment, Shared Media allows everyone to more effectively collaborate and share documents. We'll be publishing a blog post tomorrow focused on Shared Media--so keep your eyes peeled for that. 
This is nothing short of spectacular and frankly a little bit unbelievable, so much so that many of us were rushing off just to convince ourselves.   And yes, it works.

Just as soon as I convinced myself that Shared Media was real, I poked around the new interface and noticed something that was missing.   Where were the Events Listings?  They aren't part of the search interface and before you completely panic like I did, please note the following in the Viewer 2.0 Release Notes/Search:
Following are some of the usability and technical issues we are working to resolve:
  • These search collections are not yet enabled: Events, Land Sales.
  • These sorting options are not yet enabled: Sort by name for People, Places.
  • Category filtering not yet working on Classifieds tab.
  • Search results are sometimes slow to load.
  • When opening the Find window for a new search, the previous page is visible while new search loads.
  • Browsing search listings without a keyword doesn't work. E.g., Attempts to browse by initiating a search with no keyword will return you to the main search page.
  • Total number of results found only shown in Relevance sort view.
  • Maturity filtering not yet completely implemented for all searches.
  • Instructions for becoming adult-verified are not shown to non-adult accounts that search for adult content in Classifieds, Events and Land Sales.
  • Searching for only adult terms in Events and Land Sales without the Adult option enabled returns all non-adult results.
  • Events on adult regions may show up in non-adult searches.
  • Classifieds are not blocked from specific some Education and Teen estates which have opted out of showing ads.
In summary:  Search has some issues - if you are really searching for something stick to the primary SL viewer.   But in case you are looking for the Events Listing in Viewer 2.0, here's what you do.

1.  Find the the FIND.  (ctrl-F)
Notice you won't see "Events" there, just keep following along.

2.  Now SEARCH.
What kind of search should you do?  Well, what are you looking to find?  If you're new, you don't know what to look for yet so for the future, just type in "Grace McDunnough".

3.  Find the EVENTS tab.
The search results pane should have opened when you searched for Grace and now just select the Events tab.

4. From here you'll just have to be adventurous.  There's really no way to navigate the Events listing in this viewer release, so unless you got really lucky you are probably hearing Bono sing in your ear.

Go back to the primary SL viewer if finding events or things to do was something you would like to do now.  Of course I am most anxious to find out when the next release of Viewer 2.0 will be available and until then I'll be figuring out how to optimize event listings as a work-around.

If you have other ideas or suggestions, please let me know.

UPDATE:  @fleep was kind enough to ask about the timeline for fixing Search and events and the answer:  According to Q, search fixes are imminent (next couple weeks) and that includes events and classifieds.
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