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Google O3D brings 3D to web browsers.

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From the 'Lynx can't do that' files:

Google has a new Labs project publicly available today that brings 3D graphics into web browsers. It's called O3D and its somewhat related to a multi-vendor effort that was announced last month at Game Developers Conference (GDC).

According to Google, O3D is an open-source JavaScript API for creating interactive 3D graphics applications that run in a browser window. The JavaScript required for 03D is loaded into the browser via HTML (like most content). O3D works on a users desktop by taking advantage of the GPU (hardware graphics accleration) by way of the OpenGL or Direct3D library.

Sound easy enough. The only problem in my view is that there is another effort called C3DL (sponsored by Mozilla) which look to my naked eye to be very similar.

What this could mean - in the absense of a true standard - is more fragmentation and frustration for web developers. Instead of a single standard approach, like say a real HTML 5 standard that included this stuff, developers may end up having to navigate the different specifications for different implementations.

Then again, I could be entirely wrong.

Google's effort is new and C3DL is hardly a standard either.

Perhaps with both effort pushing forward a common ground can be achieved. And if not, well they're both plug-ins now. Individual sites or developers could specify that users use specific plug-ins to get the 3D graphics. That model isn't likely to work, it failed in the early days of the web and it would fail now too.

The web needs standards. Let's hope 3D graphics are one standard that we'll see sooner rather than later.

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