Linden Lab has just revealed a nifty feature implemented on XStreetSL, the web-based shopping site for Second Life that they acquired a year ago. Following the downtime on March 3, two things were immediately apparent: firstly, a slight tweak on the design elements allows now XStreetSL to have a “fluid” layout, getting rid of the ugly, nasty horizontal scroll bars that were a hallmark of XStreetSL from the very beginning.
The much more interesting announcement, of course, was the ability to directly use your L$ stored in your avatar’s account on XStreetSL, and vice-versa, immediately transferring L$ from XStreetSL to your avatar. It might not seem much (it had been promised since last year), but there is some dramatic magic going on beneath this apparenly simple, yet useful, feature.
Most services that have L$ transactions associated with it — and this is not just XStreetSL; think about web-based rental systems or the many audio/video streaming providers that accept payments in L$, or, of course, the alternate currency exchanges (which offer a far wider range of payment systems beyond LL’s offer of PayPal and credit cards) — have a rather difficult time in swiftly moving L$ between avatars. The main issue is that, although Second Life is by far and large the vastest digital marketplace for virtual goods in the world (yes, it beats Apple’s App Store!), it has a very primitive programming interface to deal with money transactions.