The Industry Takes an In-Depth Look at 3D


It seems that one of the next big things will be 3D Web content. Two heavy hitters-Google and Mozilla (in association with the Khronos group) -- are zeroing in on the sector.

This week, Google released an experimental plugin for O3D, a 3D application programming interface (API). This interesting Ars Technica piece says Khronos, which is behind the drive to create an open 3D standard, and Mozilla said in March that they will work together on 3D graphics. The story says Mozilla already has an experimental plugin available, and that it is not compatible with O3D. The story provides a tremendous amount of background, and says it is early in what will be a long process.

CNET provides more details on what Mozilla and Khronos are up to. Khronos manages the OpenGL graphics interface technology. The consortium has accepted a Mozilla proposal to establish a Web 3D working group with the goal of producing a public version in a year. The idea is to take advantage of increasing JavaScript speeds and let the programming language use the OpenGL standard to accelerate the graphics to the point that 3D is possible. The idea is to offer the 3D as an extension after Firefox 3.5.


3D can also be pretty funny. This post offers a video of somebody experiencing a 3D room. According to the blogger, the system was made by Wimberly Allison Tong and Goo and EON Reality. Clearly, this is way beyond what will be transported over the Web in the near-term. In any case, it's worth a look-preferably the high definition version of the video that is linked to-simply to see the gentleman laugh harder as he gets increasingly disoriented during the session. This site offers a sample of O3D, along with links to other 3D sites. That video and other information is available at the project's homepage at Google .

This post was written on the personal blog of Mozilla's Christopher Blizzard. It's pretty technical, but can be broken down into two elements. The first is an explanation of the differences between what his group and Google are doing. He says they are more complementary than competitive. He then offers his ideas on how the long standards process should be approached. He correctly points out that the industry has been through a good number of standards efforts. Experience is the best teacher, and he thinks a savvy approach can optimize chances for success. He advocates a process with a small scope; clear rules on interaction between the 3D and other content and the ability to change the scope as necessary. He thinks that most of the innovation should not occur within the API.

3D on the Web is going to be a lot of fun. It's also going to be used to sell things, for training and for a long list of other business-based applications, such as EON's Coliseum, which makes 3D seem like a futuristic unified communications application.