It has long been rumoured that Google were going to release their own virtual world built on top of Google Earth. On Tuesday Google did release their own Virtual World, called Lively. Unfortunately Lively is a stand alone product and doesn't utilise the 3D terrain and 3D buildings of Google Earth.
However there is no reason why you can't embed Lively into Google Maps. Lively allows users to build their own virtual worlds or 'rooms' and then to embed the rooms into their own websites using an iframe. So I have quickly thrown together this map to show how it is possible to embed a Lively room on Google Maps.
This actually could be a useful application. Schools, clubs and other organisations could start building their own virtual rooms with Lively based on a real world location. Google Maps seems as good a way as any to navigate and find these virtual rooms. For non-English speakers Lively rooms embedded on a Google Map might also prove a quick way for them to identify rooms based on the language spoken.
To play in any of the 'rooms' I have embedded on the map you will need to install the Lively plug-in (Windows only) and have or create a Google account.
If anyone wants to develop this as an idea feel free to cut and paste the code for the map.