Google is closing down Lively, the Second Life competitor its launched in July.

Lively, an online virtual world, has 10,000 unique users, a number Google admits falls short of its target.

Google said on a company blog said Lively would shut at the end of December at which time resources will be refocused on the company's search, advertising and applications businesses. "We've also always accepted that when you take these kinds of risks not every bet is going to pay off."

"Lively did teach us about what our users like and what they don't," said a Google spokesperson. "We learned people want to be social in many places on the web, and we learned that users appreciate the ability to meet new people and share content with friends."