Google 3D Web plugin

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Apr 212009

Add one more competitor to the race to create the standard for web-delivered 3d. This time, it’s Google, with a new API called O3D.

The O3D plugin leverages hardware accelerated rendering, which means that it is powered by the GPU and can deliver strong rendering performance. The API supports loading 3D models, much like Mozilla’s high-level C3DL library. Google has published several open source demos which show how the API can be used to build interactive 3D Web applications with JavaScript. One of the demos even features a JavaScript physics engine.

— Google joins effort for 3D Web standard with new plugin, API – Ars Technica.

It’s not compatible with Mozilla’s Khronos effort, but Google says they intend it to converge over the course of a few years. And yes, it is fully cross-platform. There’s a shader language (again, non-standard, doesn’t match HLSL or Cg), and of course it supports loading SketchUp as well as from Max and Maya. It also can run inside an OpenSocial gadget, or run offline in Gears.

It’s a developer release only, found here. But it’s very worth keeping an eye on. Google has to get it adopted, of course, and that will take using powerful distribution leverage, the way that Flash uses YouTube and Microsoft uses NetFlix and Windows Update to push Silverlight.

Here’s a video.

  15 Responses to “Google 3D Web plugin”

  1. […] comments on his blog about the Google development: “It’s not compatible with Mozilla’s Khronos effort, but […]

  2. They’re going to have to really decide to get behind it, as opposed to their handling of Lively.

  3. NOW were talking… both opengl for mac believers and IE working from get go…

    just set it up. works fine….

    this can be viewed in the sampleviewer app they present…..

    all they need to do cliff is offer the plugin in chrome and on the site for dl with googles typical stuff… the rest will take care of itself ….no “chat service”. just a tool for distribution.:)and the get go reach of the google myth without the fail of google not knowing that media and tech are two differnt beasts.. even though they think they will own it all.;)

    they really call it C3DL Library? lol i guess thats;)

    anyhow– this is the first time ive seen a cross platform viewer from a player(goog) that techboyz grovel too…. i love it.
    finally web3d beyond maps..;)… if they can just keep dumping pieces of lively’s corpse out as tools/interface elements not full media services…they can be a PART of the larger metaverse3d web to come.


  4. […] Raph’s Website » Google 3D Web plugin […]

  5. they intend it to converge over the course of a few years.

    After the spectacular public failure of Lively and the litany of “this is THE web standard for 3D graphics” announcements, two things are evident:

    1. It is much harder to create real standards than these ‘too big to fail’ companies understand which is why 80% of the time, these fail.

    2. It is hard to take Google seriously as they continue to devolve into a clone of Microsoft complete with FUD tactics.

    In a few years, the market will have moved on.

    Grovel until you need kneepads. 3D on the web is already there and until there are real requirements backed by real specifications and multiple implementations, this is yet another attempt to fool the market into waiting and the only people fooled are behind the podium.

    Tech is no longer enough. Google is living in the past.

  6. Len,
    this is just tech, thats my point. When google, or any other tech company-yahoo-aol attempt to do “media content” internally under tech managnemt rules, like the head designer at googles leaving due to the 41 shades of blue,- it always fails. The history of web3d is littered by this arrogance.

    If you look at googles 03D web paged presentation it looks like the VRML spec/X3D or the web3d .orgs tech web pages and demos a decade ago… only they have provided a first pass, web browser for all, and the mac creatives have been invited…that means DOLLARS for advertising games and 3d media beyond flash/paper3d.

    the only spec ever is a REASON for the media to exist and for many to profit from it,
    Im not a google overlord fan, as Ive stated way too much online;), BUT the 20%? of the time.. that MS or Macromedia, or Autodesk HAVE succeeded by any means necessary to “plant” a new media tech into the commercial mass world, they have forced the defacto standard that fuels a decade or more of content media that each bubble calls “new “..

    Lively was as dumb as most vr worlds “social service plays” of the last 3 years… Google is not Warner brothers. or even a THAT was their hubris and the stupidity of not learning from history.

    It appears unless im wrong that the core tech of o3d is from the lively browser experiments etc.. but now being released as api code for techies.. thats ok-great, not ever an issue with me:)…unless of course google decides down the road that they will own all/control all the 3d content distributed or built using the o3d api base…. if so then its all the same bull that the other vr services offer today…

    Will o3d become another x3d/ or I3d, or whatever.? time will tell, but i saw a starbasec3 3d model of mine in all major broswers and platforms yesterday on the web. And the overlord company that provided/is invested in that plugin/tech etc. was not platform bound and as its apparent here, able to bundle and truly dump a 3d enabled browser into the market and have no reason not to allow rt3d to eat 2d flash markets/or 2d window markets of a new media wrapper for mass audiences.

    tech was never enough Len:) Metaplace IS a good example of that understanding, but i cant find another web3d focused group that has a chance in heck to show that importance on the horizon.I have tried, over and over again to ears that cant hear.

    AND yeah google enlists fear in all techies as well as creatives… Ask Clive Jackson:) i feel for him, but Ive been waiting 15 years too:)

    if i had this 3d plugin to show ALL NY creatives in 1995, flash mania might not have happened 2 years later;) just sayin….;)


  7. I hate to say it, but I really do think that this will boil down to who drives adoption, not tech. Open standards are one way to do that, but they aren’t the only way. There is power in numbers, and if this or Flash or Silverlight or canvas3d or a given X3D plugin drive the numbers, then everyone will pile on to develop on it because it’s where the audience is. The “best” solution does not always win.

    Putting a 3d engine in a webpage is easy. I seriously mean that. You can get off the shelf software to embed any app you want on a webpage. The battle isn’t won on the basis of that.

  8. why “hate” to say it:)
    Its always been that way in reality, not the virtual:)

    Windows to the Mac OS in the 90s for example… and who can forget that BETAMAX was better, to the techies, but it couldnt hold a full 60-90 minute “ahem porno ” movie that us silly non coders/techies had to sell:)

    Putting 2d vector art/animation in the browser was easy too in 1995. The past shows how that turned out after a small purchase, a dump of the “app” for free to a few creative portal media ventures to fail from AOL and MSN;), and the later bundlling of that app plugin with the browser/pc sales that then allowed the wrapper for video protection to occur on the web a few years later…UTUBE.

    The other issue to a new media is always the short term protection of what you got, which is why MS and Adobe have some issues to work out.;)

    Collada makes Autodesk happy, so I see no real issues for Google IF they continue down this path.

    Adoption requires not only a tech player, but a model for others beyond it’s maker to profit from its usage. Itll be interesting to see how the Goog/if the goog can head that way with this initiative.

    So much will be “reinvented” but thats what the culture of tech gets you, until the “then obvious” tipping point of what seems to work, gets everyone in media bubble fever over and over again.

    Reality is a bitch. But virtual reality is headed for full on bastard;)

  9. […] PC gaming (it certainly does for me) and lack of good cloud-based applications. These problems are being solved though, and I anticipate a full integration by 2015. This entry was posted in Thoughts and […]

  10. HAVE succeeded by any means necessary to “plant” a new media tech into the commercial mass world

    Sometimes yes, sometimes no. We saw spectacular failures from IBM, Intel, Microsoft and Google. In fact, open standards are what these companies do very badly all claims to the contrary. I don’t really care that they want to build Yet Another 3D Plugin. Code is like opinions that way. What I mind is Yet Another Web3D Needs Our Standard Because We Own It announcement from these companies that play no role of significance in the industry. That approach is threadbare and highly corrosive.

    So I’ll continue to ask: what about the O3D scene graph is demonstrably superior such that a real standards organization should pay attention at all? We have commercial products such as Flash and we have an ISO standard that is doing heavy lifting for the high dollar adopters.

    Exactly what is Google bringing besides their lack of experience at having to budget products for long life cycle content support?

    Reality is a bitch. That’s why I stick with the only standard that has worked for over a decade and is still working. No slag on the commercial products such as Flash because good work is done and there is room in these markets for different systems with minimal interoperation. On the other hand, where the content is expensive, the life cycles are long and the IP has to be unencumbered, there is only one reality.

  11. “It announcement from these companies that play no role of significance in the industry”

    come one… this has been the “industry” or non existance of it- for 15 years.

    metaverse roadmap, its profits.(pun) have been falling like leaves from the “industry they led” engage!..

    what is google bringing? come on,;) fear, greed, and motion! just as they did a year ago with “livley”, BUT now in an arena that has some basis in reaching the google type developer, — as google 3d earth /has…. as lively never had a change too as offered and executed as a service media, not a technology to all those “free” google geeks hacking away.

    now theyll hack away for web 3d in browsers…

    and all the metapundits of 2006 will be replaced by new ones…, and all will be as it always is…;) except there might be a commercial industry that utilzes realtime 3d media/experiences virtually as the “net”.

    of course who owns what, and who allows access to what will still be the same issues… Flash standardized “videos” but who makes the money?

    back to the show.

  12. Some sample code was posted today. For them that wants to write that deep into the engines, looks fine. For those who don’t, use the frameworks. Otherwise, it’s one layer API deeper than X3D.

    What I don’t want to do is rehost. Tired of it. I want to make new content. The existing players work. Everything else is evangelism.

    OTOH, I’m still interested in Google’s reasons for going it alone or with a chorus section. Technical explanations that come down to “bloat” aren’t very informative or helpful.

  13. There’s a shader language (again, non-standard, doesn’t match HLSL or Cg) […]

    A quick clarification on the shading language that O3D supports: It is indeed HLSL/Cg. It’s defined as the intersection of the two languages and in fact we use the HLSL compiler on Windows and the Cg compiler on Mac and Linux. These two shading languages are almost identical with some small exceptions. More details on the exact differences can be found here:

    Vangelis Kokkevis, O3D Tech Lead

  14. […] I wrote about O3D back in April; its integration into Chrome is certainly interesting, but Chrome itself has quite a lot of adoption barriers yet. But it’s still highly intriguing tech to keep an eye on. If Sketchup and Google Earth migrate to it, that’s a pair of apps to drive adoption, for sure. […]

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