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Google Tries Jump-Starting 3D Web Graphics

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3D graphics enabled by Google's 03D broswer plug-in

Google's 03D lets browsers show accelerated 3D graphics.


Google has released O3D, software designed to bring accelerated three-dimensional (3D) graphics to Web browsers. The program is a browser plug-in for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. It provides an interface that enables JavaScript programs to directly access a computer's graphics chips, potentially leading to better browser games and applications. Yahoo!, Microsoft, and other companies also are developing 3D Web-based applications.

Meanwhile, Firefox and the Khronos Group, which oversees the OpenGL 3D interface standard, have announced an effort to build a 3D Web interface. The Firefox backer Mozilla and Khronos Group takes a different approach. "OpenGL tends to be a lot of code to write, even for something simple, but OpenGL gives you a lot of control," says engineering director Matt Papakipos. "Ours is at a higher level. It takes fewer function calls, so it's easier to get stuff on the screen."

Google believes that multiple 3D interfaces may one day be supported in Web browsers, and has been working on the 03D open-source plug in for two years. The plug-in is designed for programmers exploring what is possible with 3D on the Web.

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