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Google Brings 3D To Web With Open Source Plugin

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the linux-users-see-these-instructions dept.

Google 191

maxheadroom writes "Google has released an open source browser plugin that provides a JavaScript API for displaying 3D graphics in web content. Google hopes that the project will promote experimentation and help advance a collaborative effort with the Khronos Group and Mozilla to create open standards for 3D on the web. Google's plugin offers its own retained-mode graphics API, called O3D, which takes a different approach from a similar browser plugin created by Mozilla. Google's plugin is cross-platform compatible and works with several browsers. In an interview with Ars Technica, Google product manager Henry Bridge and engineering director Matt Papakipos say that Google's API will eventually converge with Mozilla's as the technology matures. The search giant hopes to bring programs like SketchUp and Google Earth to the browser space."

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vrml (4, Interesting)

colmore (56499) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667823)

So was there ever a single useful thing done in vrml?

I'm not trying to be snarky, I'm really curious.

Re:vrml (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667851)

I guess "promote experimentation" means "come up with a problem this solves".

Uh...Cybersex? I remember reading about that over and over - how sad fat losers could pretend to have sex with people via expensive equipment - yeah, like that's gonna be the next big thing.

Re:vrml (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27668699)

Yeah, we want our USB controlled vibrating fleshlights!

Re:vrml (2, Informative)

stevenvi (779021) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667905)

I once saw a 3D model of the Dopefish [dopefish.com] . It was neat. 3D graphics on my computer on the Internet! What'll they think of next?

Jumping ahead decade and a half... looks like it's just a competitor to Flash. Something else to make my computer run slower than my 486 did as I tried to execute Java applets back in '96...

Re:vrml (1)

dominux (731134) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668039)

I did some data visualisation stuff in a 3d grid with spheres of varying diameter and colour, skunkworks really, just for fun, and to learn some VRML. Showed it to the customer who was getting the database being visualised as a free bonus bit of functionality. They hated it with a passion and asked never to see it again. Odd reaction, but there you go.

Re:vrml (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27668083)

I went to paper software once right before it got bought by Netscape. they had a web browser where you would fly through the links to pages behind them. I thought that was neat, but I don't think it was ever released.

Re:vrml (4, Insightful)

Unending (1164935) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668201)

There are things I would like to see in 3D and I do think the capability to embed 3D objects is a useful step.
Off the top of my head:
-google earth in a browser.
-games are always a target for tech like this.
-any sort of 3d visualization of data that would benefit from non static viewing.

That said I disagree with how they made this, conceptually I prefer the 3D context for the canvas tag.

Re:vrml (3, Insightful)

mirshafie (1029876) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668309)

There are already proprietary applications for viewing 3D objects in browsers. These are useful for certain lines of work, such as displaying CAD models. I don't think the industrial companies that use these technologies will be the first to adopt open standards, but it might be a useful tool for smaller design houses.

As you wrote, online game designers will probably be all over this, and their ability to generate revenue should not be underestimated.

Re:vrml (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27668535)

What most people here on /. would like to see in 3D definitely is boobs.

Now waiting for the haptic plugin.

Re:vrml (5, Funny)

dunng808 (448849) | more than 5 years ago | (#27669273)

There is no shortage of boobs posting on /.

Re:vrml (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668675)

-google earth in a browser.
-games are always a target for tech like this.
-any sort of 3d visualization of data that would benefit from non static viewing.

OK, why would any of those be better in the browser instead of as a native application?

Re:vrml (1)

Unending (1164935) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668687)

Accessibility, whether real or perceived.

Re:vrml (2, Informative)

mikael (484) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668821)

Because you can embed the images in another webpage - just like youtube videos.

You don't have to bother about with unpacking zip files, rpm's, tar's, .run files, especially when you don't have admin permissions on the host machine.

Also, you won't start up your application one day, and read the message "This version is no longer supported. Please exit and upgrade to uber-version X.Y.Z".

Re:vrml (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#27669373)

Because you can embed the images in another webpage - just like youtube videos.

Compare Youtube videos to a native video player, the native option is much better.

You don't have to bother about with unpacking zip files, rpm's, tar's, .run files, especially when you don't have admin permissions on the host machine.

That's what self extracting installers are for, and you should be able to install to your home directory. If not, that's a packaging issue that's easy to deal with.

Also, you won't start up your application one day, and read the message "This version is no longer supported. Please exit and upgrade to uber-version X.Y.Z".

I was going to give you this one, but on second thought not. First, it's a very, very small annoyance. Second, this seems to happen to me every time Flash upgrades and it's in the browser too. Third, there's nothing stopping an app from being self updating.

Re:vrml (4, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#27669897)

Compare Youtube videos to a native video player, the native option is much better.

Mostly because YouTube is based on Flash, and there currently aren't any major video sites using the video tag. I'd suggest that the video tag would be much better.

That's what self extracting installers are for, and you should be able to install to your home directory. If not, that's a packaging issue that's easy to deal with.

Unless they've also locked it down with something like noexec.

there's nothing stopping an app from being self updating.

True, but autoupdate is one of many things a browser / web-based application gives you "for free".

Another one is navigation. No reason a native app can't have hyperlinks back/forward buttons, and history, but why reinvent the wheel?

Another is extensibility. Without really doing much, you're probably still allowing people to write Greasemonkey scripts for your app.

Another is the refresh button. Complete reboot + autoupdate all in one.

Another is extreme portability -- native players may be better than YouTube, but it's difficult finding a machine that won't play YouTube out of the box. VLC isn't a terribly big download, but it's still an inconvenience, especially on machines where such things aren't allowed.

Another is security. Trusting one plugin to add 3D support is considerably safer than trusting every single application you might want to download that might want to render 3D. The browser is necessarily a sandbox, which means you don't have to set up a more complex one (like a chroot or a virtual machine).

The list goes on. You may not like the platform, but there are advantages to having an open standard portable platform. In fact, the browser is fulfilling the promise of Java so many years ago -- compile once, run anywhere.

I would say, if you don't like doing everything in the browser, and there's a specific reason you don't like it, improve it. That's what happened here, I'm sure -- Google doesn't like doing Google Earth in the browser, because the browser has no 3D. So they've improved the browser.

Re:vrml (4, Informative)

lahvak (69490) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668875)

So that I don't have to make my multivariable calculus students download and install new applications on their computers, so that I don't have to convince the IT folks at our school to install bunch of new applications that only a handful of students will use in the labs and classrooms, and I don't have to find an application that would run on all of my students' computers, whichever OS they use, the labs that mostly run windows, and my linux laptop.

Re:vrml (1)

5865 (104259) | more than 5 years ago | (#27669401)

Like flash, sandboxed to hell so any security concerns are offloaded to the plugin provider. Which means you can do 3d stuffs and people can load them on their browsers without worrying about being hacked.

Re:vrml (4, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27669945)

OK, why would any of those be better in the browser instead of as a native application?

No install, cross-platform.

Re:vrml (2, Insightful)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 5 years ago | (#27670299)

Better integration with Google's advertisement services.

Re:vrml (1)

hannson (1369413) | more than 5 years ago | (#27669533)

Additionally, everything 3d made with flash and possibly also for accelerated 2d graphics.

3D in a 2D world. (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#27670057)

As I mentioned in another forum I can see home improvement and DIY sites using this technology. Not to mention educational and science sites. As for Google earth, it could simply be a different way to look at the web.

Re:vrml (1)

cristjs (1538185) | more than 5 years ago | (#27670095)

Lets see, they created an 'open source browser plugin'.. for Windows and Mac... but not for GNU/Linux... Google is your friend???

Re:vrml (1)

popo (107611) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668447)

I'm not trying to snarky either, I'm really serious:

No.

Re:vrml (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27668467)

IIRC, VRML was simply a file format (like HTML) and not an API. It was certainly not designed with JITing JavaScript engines in mind.

Re:vrml (2, Interesting)

lahvak (69490) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668977)

Actually, there are many really cool mathematical visualizations done in VRML. The main problem with VRML was, imho, that the plugins were really clunky and never really worked that well. In fact, at the time VRML was introduced, the whole plugin architecture in most browsers was pretty simple, and even installing plugins was not easy. Finding, dowloading and installing a VRML plugin wasn't any easier than installing a standalone application for 3D, and the application probably had better functionality.

If this thing is well done, and easy to find and install, it can make quite a difference in areas such as mathematics or chemistry instruction.

Re:vrml (1)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | more than 5 years ago | (#27669549)

I did some work as an undergrad rendering complex molecules for the physics department at my school, had it exported to vrml, and placed on the website of the research project.

I'm not sure if that's "useful." Visualizing the molecules was, but that can be done in other software. Placing it on the web, well at the time they thought it was going to be useful, but it's no longer on their website, so they probably decided it wasn't :)

Re:vrml (1)

Thomas Shaddack (709926) | more than 5 years ago | (#27670487)

Molecular models.

We can hope (1, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667825)

Maybe Google will make a game engine that doesn't suck next.

Re:We can hope (2, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668503)

I think you meant to say a game engine that's not evil.

VRML (0)

HaeMaker (221642) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667827)

It's been done...

VRML and X3D (4, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668165)

It's been done...

...And done again. The problem isn't having a way to communicate 3D content with the browser in a form which supports interaction, the problem is coming up with something worth using it for.

Re:VRML and X3D (5, Funny)

hack slash (1064002) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668781)

the problem is coming up with something worth using it for.

Google StreetView 3D.

Or as it will probably (hopefully) be eventually known as: Grand Theft Auto: Streets of Google

Re:VRML (4, Insightful)

daemonburrito (1026186) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668199)

Man... I thought we covered this with the last story related to the proposed Khronos 3d api. This is nothing like VRML. It is a javascript api to use graphics hardware.

Nothing to do with markup of any kind (aside from the xml in Collada, which is not necessarily part of the standard). Ugh.

Re:VRML (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668269)

VRML can be accessed from JavaScript and can be 3D accelerated (it is in any relatively recent plugin). I am not completely sure I understand the difference between a 3D retained mode API, and a 3D retained mode modelling language that exposes its objects to a programming language.

Re:VRML (1, Insightful)

daemonburrito (1026186) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668665)

Ugh... I think I might suck cocks on this one. I had assumed that since Google is part of the Khronos initiative, they were closer to the approach of Mozilla's canvas:3d, where the philosophy was to expose a significant subset of opengl so opengl programmers could jump right in. After reading this [google.com] , I've come around to thinking O3D actually is kind of like VRML, unfortunately.

Ugh. Again. (2, Insightful)

Gricey (154787) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667837)

The 3d web doesn't work. What "problem" are they trying to fix? That's the main reason it keeps failing.

  -- incubus

Re:Ugh. Again. (4, Informative)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667949)

The 3d web doesn't work. What "problem" are they trying to fix? That's the main reason it keeps failing.

-- incubus

I know that this is slashdot but did you not read the summary? This could allow for Google Earth to function in a similar way to how Microsoft virtual earth 3D does within IE without need for a fat client on the desktop. The main difference would be that it would be more open and cross platform/browser compatible.

Re:Ugh. Again. (1)

dickeya (733264) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668171)

Ummm.... where have you been for the last year?

http://code.google.com/apis/earth/ [google.com]

Re:Ugh. Again. (2, Informative)

Tweenk (1274968) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668641)

That plugin does not work on Linux. The point is not to implement Google Earth as a plugin. It is to implement it using Web standards (VRML, HTML, JavaScript, etc.). It's the same as using SVG + JavaScript + SMIL instead of Flash, or Google Maps which doesn't use any plugins. If they manage to pull it off, it's going to be interesting.

Re:Ugh. Again. (1)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668191)

The main difference would be that it would be more open and cross platform/browser compatible.

Ummm...are you serious?! Following that suggestion would be akin to playing one of those Halloween scary sound CD's on repeat, very loud, all day...every day

It's not so much scary as it is unsettling, and people will avoid spending time in there unless it's an emergency. Alternate titles:

pigs being slaughtered
Jokes, except the punchline is cut out
one cat, in heat, wailing and meowing to be let out
classical out of one speaker, the sound of crazed laughter out the other
the harddisk chatter of multiple concurrent firefox installs going on under Windows ME
random gunshots spaced 30 sec-90 sec apart. LOUD.
highly amplified signal coming from a microphone near the occupant's toilet
ticking clock that randomly speeds up and slows down
the soundtrack from zombo.com

I dunno know, dude, but I think my idea would work.

Re:Ugh. Again. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668751)

This could allow for Google Earth to function in a similar way to how Microsoft virtual earth 3D does within IE without need for a fat client on the desktop.

So the benefits are:

1) Google Earth displays in a browser window. Was it really so hard to manage two separate windows?

2) Instead of a fat client on the desktop, you get a fat plugin in your browser.

I'm not seeing how this is filling a need.

Re:Ugh. Again. (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668887)

2) Instead of a fat client on the desktop, you get a fat plugin in your browser.

For one thing, you get a single general-purpose plug-in instead of a separate one for each different 3D web application you want to use. For another thing, if it's a standard then it can be implemented as part of the base functionality of the browser, and not need a plug-in at all.

Re:Ugh. Again. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#27669313)

The whole google earth application is going to be shoehorned into the browser one way or another. The 3d support part of it might be reusable, but that's a small part of the whole application. If it's not a "Google Earth" specific plugin that you have to download and install, then it's going to be loaded every time you hit the page. That's worse than a native application.

Re:Ugh. Again. (1)

dunng808 (448849) | more than 5 years ago | (#27669357)

From the summary, "Google's plugin is cross-platform compatible ..."

On the Google site I see Windows and OS-X well represented, then a whisp of a suggestion about 32-bit Linux, then nothing for FreeBSD. This does not qualify as cross-platform, not anymore.

Re:Ugh. Again. (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668185)

The 3d web doesn't work.

The 3D web worked fine with VRML (and continued to work fine with X3D, AFAIK.) The problem is that no one really had any work for it to do.

Re:Ugh. Again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27669333)

I disagree.

Why does it have to solve anything? What "problem" does WoW solve?

Warning: spyware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27669721)

I must also warn that this supposedly simple little plugin installs that "Google Updater" spyware crap without asking if it was ok and with no way to remove it short of manually killing the process, deleting the files and removing the startup entries from the registry.

Thanks a lot Google. I just wasted 20 minutes having to remove rubbish. I uninstalled the plugin without even trying it because I cannot trust anything from a company that installs spyware.

Re:Ugh. Again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27670261)

http://www.quakelive.com/ [quakelive.com]

Finally (4, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27667843)

goatse will be worth looking at~

Re:Finally (1)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668145)

I think I'll pass thanks.

Re:Finally (5, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668385)

"When you stare into the abyss the abyss stares back at you." -- Friedrich Nietzsche

For some reason, goatse.cx always reminds me of that quote...

Think of the possibilities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27667937)

Imagine how much spam you can fit into a 3D space!

Show some respect (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27667979)

I give Google credit for creating open source software, but I'm personally getting tired of the half implementation for Linux. I mean here is a company who has used Linux as the foundation for their internal use and they can't even muster up a deb or rpm package for their product, let alone 64 bit Linux support. Wtf Google.

Show some respect to the community.

Re:Show some respect (2, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668061)

Most OSS projects don't offer precompiled RPMs or DEBs. Its much easier to outsource it to the distro managers who can better add it into the next release. Think about it this way, you offer a DEB for Ubuntu, that DEB gets installed on a Debian based system that isn't Ubuntu... Unfortunately, it doesn't really resolve dependencies nicely and it requires either A) A newer version of a library B) Some obscure library that doesn't have an easy to use DEB thus killing the entire point C) Dependencies that depend on other dependencies that either have problem A or B.

Re:Show some respect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27668157)

Very true. Is there a way to circumvent this so that a Linux user doesn't have to wait 6 months to have a streamlined installation path? Windows users can click and install this today, why should Linux users have to go through hoops to do this?

Re:Show some respect (1)

stevenvi (779021) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668229)

Tip:

$ ./configure
$ make
$ make install

Get real (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668957)

Tip:

Over and over I have heard people say that you just use the usual configure, make, make install sequence to get a program running. Unfortunately, most people using computers today have never used a compiler or written a line of program code. With the advent of graphical user interfaces and applications builders, there are lots of serious programmers who have never done this.

configure; make; make install [tldp.org]
[Linux Gazette, November 22, 2003]

Re:Show some respect (1)

gnarfel (1135055) | more than 5 years ago | (#27669409)

Oddly enough, most things people would want to install (applications) that don't have packages (and thusly need to be compiled) require root for that last step. This is where `sudo` comes in.

Re:Show some respect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27668365)

Incidentally...

http//autopackage.org/

Seriously, this is interesting? (0, Troll)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668007)

Wow, google brought us an implementation of a standard that's got dozens of implementations already! A failed standard from 1996! One with several legitimate, healthy replacements!

You can tell they're doing great things.

32bit Linux only - Give me a break (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27668031)

It has been years since I was on a 32bit linux system... Guess I will not be trying this out anytime soon...

Re:32bit Linux only - Give me a break (1)

emag (4640) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668427)

My thoughts exactly. I mean, sure, I have 32bit laptops, but anything I've bought since then is 64-bit...

Re:32bit Linux only - Give me a break (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27668789)

I'm sure an OS as advanced as Linux can run a 32-bit application even if you are using a 64-bit OS and CPU. Right?

You just fucking bitch because you just HAVE to have 64-bit, OMFG!!! They are only giving you 32??? Jesus Fucking Christ, they are robbing you blind! How dare they do that to you! What a great insult to only receive half of what you are due.

In all seriousness, ignorant crybabies like you are why people hate Linux zealots. Grow the fuck up.

Re:32bit Linux only - Give me a break (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27669681)

Though I wouldn't quite say it in the same manner, I absolutely agree with the parent 100%. What does running a 64-bit browser and plugin get you over a 32-bit browser and plugin? It's true that there are a few areas that could see moderate speed improvements from going 64-bit, but for the most part it just does not seem worth the effort to me. Believe me, supporting two binaries is (sometimes more than) twice as hard as supporting one. I think most people bitching about this are essentially ricers. Every time I see a 64-bit whiner I am reminded of Gentoo [funroll-loops.info] .

Jogl vs Java3D flashbacks (1)

robmv (855035) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668041)

This two implementations make me remember Jogl vs Java3D, and how people preferred direct access with jogl than an scene based API

firefox and javashit is 386er slow as it is please (1, Troll)

Ruede (824831) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668209)

....do not add a 286 experience plugin... it sucks surfing under linux already... no need for ultra suck....

bloatware (1)

n30na (1525807) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668293)

This only lags a little less than java applets on load. yay. This will only get useful if they can make the pageload overhead as small as that of flash, etc. I don't like my computer freaking out and lagging when I load a page.

3D = more bloat (1)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668307)

Great, this will add more auto-loading bloat to the web. Soon even your netbook will need a Core 3 Octo and 80GB of RAM to get by without crashing.

Its disappointing to see a company that has sworn by minimalism since 1998 now going out of its way to make the web altogether more bloated. Of course they are trying to topple client-side computing and therefore Microsoft by rewriting the world in JavaScript

Having everything web-based is just the new way of making money from software. If a fat client had Google ads on the side people would dismiss it as adware, if there were no ads they'd just pirate it. if they want web applications to catch on 3D support is a must. I'd say by the time Google are finished trying to extend HTTP/HTML and JavaScript it will be such a mess that it won't be worth using anymore.

Really google should write a good client for remotely run applications rather than trying to extend web browsers to do it because browsers are by their design a piss-poor choice for any of the slightly more complicated applications

3D on a 2D Screen (1)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668329)

All of this is all well and good, but I'm holding out for a 3D interface, something that can really take advantage and create true 3D rather than depth to what is essentially still a 2D image no matter how many polygons you throw at it.

THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH VRML (3, Informative)

daemonburrito (1026186) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668341)

ffs!

Javascript. API. OpenGL.

Re:THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH VRML (1)

sl3xd (111641) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668533)

But there is a certain similarity: VRML plugins often used OpenGL to render the 3D content; and the idea seems very similar - have 3D content on the web.

Re:THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH VRML (1)

daemonburrito (1026186) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668691)

Yeah, you're right. After reading the overview, it appears that this is totally different than Mozilla's idea (who are also contributing to the Khronos initiative).

Mozilla's approach is a much better idea...

Re:THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH VRML (1)

daemonburrito (1026186) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668715)

Don't mod me up! I was wrong, wrong, wrong!

Re:THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH VRML (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27669935)

Don't mod me up! I was wrong, wrong, wrong!

He he he, too late...
Madness? This is Slashdot!!

SVG (4, Insightful)

SpaceToast (974230) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668387)

Speaking as an animator and web developer, I'd rather see this effort on the part of Google and Mozilla put into 3D SVG. It would eliminate the need for yet another plugin, allow direct DOM access, and facilitate the mixing of 3d with other page elements.

Or maybe I just want Lain's web experience...

Re:SVG (2, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668849)

Isn't this trying to open the path for that? If they can get the API down pat with the plugin, and leave it open enough to replace the plugin with built-in functionality, it'll do exactly what you want, quicker, and with cross-browser compatibility.

Re:SVG (1)

BZ (40346) | more than 5 years ago | (#27670493)

Honestly, the XML-and-DOM part of SVG is a significant performance drag. If you want high-performance 3d graphics, you do NOT want to be maintaining a DOM for the whole thing...

Obvious (1)

TerribleNews (1195393) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668405)

It has been obvious since the release of GMail that google's intention has been to create the dumb terminal model for the 21st century. Everything will run in the browser. You won't need any storage or serious processing power. Just an assload of ram and a graphics card and away you go.

"But processing power is cheap!" you cry. But not as cheap as free, which is what google will offer. Email, office apps, video games as hot as you've ever seen before, all from the comfort of your own browser and all Google Adsense paid for.

What is this brand new techology good for? (2, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668409)

Since the dawn of computer communications, there has always been a single valid answer to that question: porn.

We tried something like this once before.. (3, Insightful)

moogord (904702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668431)

Remeber - its a neat little tag that is really quite powerful in the right hands, everything supports it but internet explorer, google made a plugin for IE but still no website uses canvas because you can't ignore the fact that no IE user has it (until HTML 5 if IE stays standards complient).

I would *love* opengl ES like 3d rendering in javascript, with a fast enough javascript engine you could do some great things, at the last you could make fluid websites without the need for a flash plugin eating up cpu... but alas i feel this is doomed to the same fate as our old google canvas plugin for IE.

Re:We tried something like this once before.. (1)

moogord (904702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668451)

the tag that is, forgot about /. formatting

Re:We tried something like this once before.. (1)

Phroggy (441) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668531)

Yes you did...

I might have a use for this (3, Funny)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668471)

I just need a good 3D model of a 1953 Martian War Machine.

Papervision 3D (1)

popo (107611) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668541)

..blows this away... (imho, of course)

This engine isn't close to being ready for prime time yet.

Re:Papervision 3D (1)

JoeCoder7 (989774) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668707)

Yes, but papervision uses software rendering because that's all flash can do. You'll get 10x the framerate from this since it actually uses your computer's 3d hardware.

Clipping? (1)

popo (107611) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668553)

Without clipping, demos like the island are basically useless.

Of course Google want 3D Interwebs... (1)

Greg.Rodden (853800) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668793)

Did no one see the flying advertisements in that Futurama episode???

3D porn (1)

Stratocastr (1234756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668819)

3D porn ftw.. go google gogogo..

Seems like people are missing the point. (4, Interesting)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 5 years ago | (#27668835)

This, and the canvas/video tag (if implemented widely) and fast Javascript (V8/Spidermonkey) will kill flash.

Flat out kill it. It might take a little while, but before long it will die out as soon as comparable dev tools pop up (and they will, because it's open).

I have a feeling this will be big - not XMLHttpRequest big, but not too far off. Need proof that this will succeed? Look at the hacky ways this has been done - Javascript raytracers, animated GIFs, writing software renderers in Flash - and tell me that people won't utilize a proper alternative when it arises.

Re:Seems like people are missing the point. (3, Insightful)

spyrral (162842) | more than 5 years ago | (#27669745)

Why would you want to kill Flash? Flash is great:

* Large install base with very fast uptake on new versions.
* Great IDE, large ecosystem of code, developers and tools.
* Easy streaming of HD video to the browser.
* Great communication server, video chat is an example level project.
* Small file size for the plugin, support for Window, OS X and Linux.

Other then being open, what would your hodgepodge collection of technologies and tools offer over Flash?

Re:Seems like people are missing the point. (2, Informative)

Endymion (12816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27670123)

Because it's performance blows on non-standard platforms? Because it's lack of support for 64-bit (well, last I checked) is a pain in the ass? Because it's a constant source of memory leaks and segfaults?

The day I can get rid of that stupid plugin will be a day I celebrate a lot.

Re:Seems like people are missing the point. (1)

BZ (40346) | more than 5 years ago | (#27670477)

> * Large install base with very fast uptake on new versions.

Fast uptake? Or do you mean "major versions" as opposed to security fixes? Flash uptake for security fixes is terrible.

> * Small file size for the plugin, support for Window, OS X and Linux.

Sort of. 64-bit support is not so great. Support is not at all the same across all three of Windows, OS X, Linux (e.g. windowless mode took its sweet time coming to all three).

You forgot some negatives:

* Unstable (something like 30% of the crashes logged by the Firefox crash logger are actually Flash crashes... note that this is for in-development Firefox builds, last I checked; the numbers look worse for release ones).
* CPU hog. Disabling Flash drops my browser's CPU usage from 40-50% to 2-5%. This is on Mac. Your mileage will vary by operating system and number of sites with Flash in them you have open.

Note that it's not a given that the replacement will be less of a CPU hog or less crashy. But if it's not.... it won't kill Flash.

Call me when it's like this ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27669279)

He closed his eyes.
Found the ridged face of the power stud.
And in the bloodlit dark behind his eyes, silver phosphenes boiled in from the edge of space, hypnagogic images jerking past like a film compiled of random frames. Symbols, figures, faces, a blurred, fragmented mandala of visual information.
Please, he prayed, now-
A gray disk, the color of Chiba sky.
Now-
Disk beginning to rotate, faster, becoming a sphere of paler gray. Expanding-
And flowed, flowered for him, fluid neon origami trick, the unfolding of distanceless home, his country, transparent 3D chessboard extending to infinity. Inner eye opening to the stepped scarlet pyramid of the Eastern Seaboard Fission Authority burning beyond the green cubes of Mitsubishi Bank of America, and high and very far away he saw the spiral arms of the military systems, forever beyond his reach.
And somewhere he was laughing, in a white-painted loft, distant fingers caressing the deck, tears of release streaking his face.

and in another news.. (2, Funny)

miknix (1047580) | more than 5 years ago | (#27669657)

the comet CHAIR-R51 is in route collision with planet earth!

Linux SketchUp Already? (2, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#27669791)

Google's main 3D project is SketchUp, an easy 3D modeling studio. But it's not available for Linux. And it runs crappy, if at all, in WINE. It's also nearly the only way (other than a really tricky multi-app process with Blender) to import 3D buildings into Google Earth. Which means that without a Linux SketchUp, it's nearly impossible to get Google Earth to place the buildings properly (it requires IPC which doesn't work with SketchUp running within WINE).

So if Google is going to spend programmer hours bringing 3D to the masses, how about finishing bringing SketchUp to Linux already?

What about Metastream?... (2, Interesting)

thekm (622569) | more than 5 years ago | (#27669969)

Unsure how well this will go, maybe it'll work just because it's google. But there was an *awesome* 3D plugin ages ago called Metastream. It was by the group that made Kai's Power Tools (the first set of photoshop plugins that really got the plugins thing moving along). What made it awesome was that you could model the one model with as much detail as you wanted and then export it for Metastream. In the webpage you could just call the server and say that you wanted a little low-res version to show as a thumbnail, but if you wanted a product detail you simply call for the same thing but with more detail. The Metastream plugin changed the geometry detail and image mapping to whatever was needed to get it done... just like progressive images, but better and more complete (would be the exact same if you could tell a progressive image you just wanted it really small).

Anyways... Metastream didn't take off, but it was certainly an example of it done really well with a lot of possibilities. Because it was so good, it makes me doubt as to whether it'll be cool when google does it. Metastream was awesome.

what about the blender realtime plugin (1)

soibudca (846319) | more than 5 years ago | (#27670049)

I thought the realtime blender plugin was a very cool project and quite effective. It implemented a sandboxed version of blender's richly featured 3d game / interactive simulation engine within several browsers on multiple platforms back in 2002 http://www.linux.com/feed/20866 [linux.com] there have been rumblings of reviving the project and bringing it in line with the current code base now and then on the blender developers mailing list. most recently by Marcelo CoraÃa de Freitas

off-topic api question (1)

Endymion (12816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27670205)

I'm starting a totally new app that is (hopefully) going to use OpenGL for the display. Not full 3D, but I kind of want the fancy blending features. The problem is the last time I used OpenGL was... a VERY long time ago. It seems to have changed substantially sense then.

I'm totally out of the loop, though, as far as graphics programming goes, so... does anybody know of a decent source for discussion, tutorials, docs, anything on doing modern OpenGL the "right way"? Seeing as this project is starting from scratch, I might as well get it correct from the beginning.

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