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Bringing Online Shopping Into the Future With the 3D Web

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the browse-the-potato-aisle-from-home dept.

Graphics 70

An anonymous reader writes "While there is now the possibility of using 3D in the browser over WebGL, it is still hard for regular web developers to get 3D content into websites without being hardcore graphics programmers. XML3D, a project at the Intel Visual Computing Institute, tries to tackle that problem by having a very easy-to-use language as an extension of HTML5. The goal is to standardize it with the W3C. There are already modified Firefox and Chrome browsers that support XML3D natively. At Intel's Research Blog you can find a video on what shopping at an online store could soon look like. In the example, the user purchases a DSLR that can be fully interacted with in 3D, including attaching various lenses and an external flash."

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Yay (5, Insightful)

slackware 3.6 (2524328) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232161)

the new VRML.

Re:Yay (1)

TeXMaster (593524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232203)

Just my thoughts. Why reinvent the wheel rather than expand and improve what's there already? (Note: I have never looked at or used VRML, so I have no idea what state it is in.)

Re:Yay (3, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232369)

(Note: I have never looked at or used VRML, so I have no idea what state it is in.)

It's in Missouri. []

Re:Yay (1)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232551)

Actually that's *exactly* what XML3D is. You can think of it as the XHTML to VRML's "HTML4.0"

Re:Yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39235811)

Too bad HTML5 beat out XHTML....

Re:Yay (1)

fatphil (181876) | more than 2 years ago | (#39235919)

Erm, we're talking 1995 here, that was HTML 2.0.

Re:Yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39239191)

You're confusing this "XML3D" with X3D [] . I don't think they're related. And your comparison to XHTML is a bit off. X3D isn't a dead end. It's an ISO standard based on VRML and already widely used. X3D (or a subset) already runs in browsers via a Javascript interpreter: X3DOM [] . There are proposals to integrate it with HTML5 [] . It's pretty neat. I don't see why we should introduce yet another 3D XML dialect.

Re:Yay (1)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 2 years ago | (#39243113)

Woops, you're absolutely correct. That's exactly what I did. Good catch.

Sorry guys. I meant X3D. Fuck this "XML3D" noise.

Re:Yay (5, Informative)

Zadaz (950521) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232385)

Exactly. This adds nothing to VRML (Or any of the other dozen 3D web technologies that went under this same headline in years past.)

Okay, that's not entirely true. Over the past it has the following advantages:

- It's buit into the browser, so no plugins.

- Computers are much faster so performance should be better.

- Bandwidth is higher so files transfer faster.

But none of the gets to the heart of the problem with 3D:
- 3D artists are much more expensive than a production artist running Photoshop and creating attractive 3D content takes much longer than a flat image. This makes the content much more expensive to produce.

- The quality is not there. If you want to show off the highest quality vision of your product you want Photoshoped images. 3D just doesn't have it. Even with high resolution 3D scanners and hours of cleanup by a train artist it will still look sub-par compared to properly prepped 2D images.

- There are very few 3D interface designers worth a damn. And they're all working much higher paid jobs making games. That leaves people who sort of saw a scene in Jonny Mnemonic on late-night TV years ago when they were a little drunk, and thought it would be neat to make an interface like that. This turns away customers. And even if they did hire one of those great designers away from the games industry, 3D is still a horrible interface for a 2D spreadsheet, which is what most web sites are.

- Phones.

With the exception of the last, these problems will always exist, and always doom the 3D web.

The single case I've seen for 3D web in 20+ years of doing 3D are online 3D libraries like Thingiverse [] where, in this case, you can preview an STL before downloading.

Disclosure: I have worked with web and 3D since 1996 and have been directly involved with a number of doomed 3D web projects in that time. They were all essentially identical with the exception of the name of the 3D plugin/file format.

Re:Yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232487)

Web Math software is another good case for 3d web technologies, like this proof-of-concept for Sage:

Re:Yay (2)

grumbel (592662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232571)

- The quality is not there. If you want to show off the highest quality vision of your product you want Photoshoped images.

The shiniest polished image of a front side of a product helps me little if I as a customer want to actually look at the backside of the product. I would absolutely love it when Amazon or another major shop would start putting their products under a 3D scanner and allowing the user the actually view a product from all sides in 3D so that one can get a proper feel for the size, instead of just having an 2D image that really tell you much about anything. Apple had that a decade or so ago with QuickTime VR and there have been a few experiments with ActiveX back in the day, but that all has disappeared since then and I would absolutely love to have it back.

Re:Yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233913)

Yeah. The camera example was nice. You can always use a bit of 3d here and there to enhance designs of traditional 2D websites. It doesn't have to be a total 3D makeover.

I could image 3d working well for say, a preview of remodeling projects or any other architectural rendering being VERY nice on a website.

This is True, And Yet (2)

Phoenix666 (184391) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233459)

What you're saying is true, but the example of Thingiverse rather points the way to solving the 3D artist problem: 3D scanners. One of the bottle necks in additive manufacturing is the need to design something in a CAD system before feeding it to the printer. And that's the same bottleneck you've pointed out for 3D websites. If you have a 3D scanner to generate a CAD file for an existing object, then no 3D artist time is required. Of course, in the case of a 3D printer you need to scan with X-rays to pick up internal structure, but for a website a surface scan is entirely, or at least mostly, sufficient.

Re:Yay (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233923)

Add to that: 3D brings in limitations from the real world. I worked with a project a few years ago that used a 3D interface for displaying pictures online. You could walk around a virtual art gallery with the pictures all on the walls. What was the difference between this and a simple page of pictures? Several things:

First, there was the issue of distortion. You had to stand directly in front of a picture to see it without distortion from perspective. Zooming was also harder - you could zoom in and out by walking towards the picture, but panning up and down was not possible without implementing some kind of levitation mechanic.

Second, there was the problem of spacial location. By restricting yourself to 3D space, rather than the n-dimensional space of arbitrary hyperlinks, you increase the distance between any two points in the site. Even with 20 pictures per floor and instant teleporting elevators, users spent a lot longer walking between pictures than they spent navigating a 2D site.

For me, one of the main benefits of online shopping over a real shop is that I can search and get a list of items matching my criteria that I can quickly compare. 3D adds nothing to this, and takes several things away.

Re:Yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39235355)

This is true. In 99% of cases it's quicker to take 20 shots of a product from different angles and then make a web app to make it look like the thing can be rotated. If you do it well you can have pseudo-rotation in 2 axes. There is next to no advantage adding a third axis, though presumably with an automated rig it would be possible to do it.

The time it would take to put all the different Nikon lenses on all the different Nikon cameras and photograph them is negligible compared to the time it would take to model them all in sufficient quality to look good on the web, but not so high that it melts graphics cards.

VRML: The RIAA of the web (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238269)

The whole concept of the 3D browser keeps popping up every year or two like bad RIAA-lobbied legislation, and with about as much success.

The simple fact of the matter is that while there are some vertical market needs for 3D technologies like being able to show a "virtual house" on a realtor's website, the expense of creating that 3D content DWARFS the expected benefits.

So what if I could take a 3D model of a camera and put virtual lenses on it in a virtual store using 3D web interfaces? How is that going to tell me anything about how heavy the camera is, how it feels to carry, or just how easy it is to attach and remove lenses?

What really amazes me is how many hundreds of millions have been spent by different companies and backers for a technology that hardly anyone needs or even wants. It's worse than a 3D TV with virtually no content available that isn't animated. Unless you really like animation, a 3D TV is about the worst waste of money you could spend a dime on, and the 3D browser is even worse.

Re:Yay (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233395)

Mod parent up. I was going to say almost exactly the same thing.

What a waste of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232191)

Until the 3D image is actually some sort of functional 3D projection, what's the point? Ohhh... I can attach a picture of a lens to a picture of a camera!

Re:What a waste of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232395)

The point is being able to get a better look at products before buying them. All too often when I shop on Amazon, products won't have adequate pictures that allow me to see a product from all angles and zoom factors. Many products don't even bother to list full specs. Just today I was shopping for a new projector, but many of them don't list the supported connection types, so it would be nice to be able to rotate and zoom a 3D model of the projector and visually verify that it has what I need.

3D shops are worthless, but the application of 3D to actual products would be very useful.

Re:What a waste of time (4, Insightful)

unrtst (777550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232581)

Right example, WRONG conclusion!

All too often when I shop on Amazon, products won't have adequate pictures that allow me to see a product from all angles and zoom factors. Many products don't even bother to list full specs. Just today I was shopping for a new projector, but many of them don't list the supported connection types, so it would be nice to be able to rotate and zoom a 3D model of the projector and visually verify that it has what I need.

If {online retailer} can't be bothered to snap a few pictures with their camera phone and/or copy/paste the product specs, what makes you think they'll bother to obtain a full blown interactive 3d representation of the device? This is why this is doomed (for online shopping at least).

Newegg (my personal favorite retailer of electronic goods except for cables, which is then monoprice) already does nice 2d pictures with zoom support so you can zoom in and see what connections are there, and you can often make out the tiny little labels even. Sometimes, they also have a 360 degree view, which is really just a series of pics shot around the product, and a slider that lets you change the pictures in order via flash (but could easily be done in JS or HTML5 etc). There is very very very little benefit to a complete 3d model over these, and it's a lot more work, it's more expensive to produce, it's less compatible with existing browsers, it's higher bandwidth, and more difficult/complicated to use, and it will likely be lower resolution.

Still photos are by far the easiest thing for a retailer to add. Snap, and attach to the product profile. You're complaining (and I agree) that there aren't enough of these already... you're delusional if you think a 3d model will show up on all those products that don't even list the basic specs or more than one pic.

360 degree photos are also quite easy, especially for a big retailer that can setup one rig to do them (ex. a single camera, product on a lazy susan, spin it while shooting a movie or taking pics, paste result to 360 degree image maker or just make it a gif), and very few products have these even some of the best retailer sites.

3d online shopping - not going to happen. Stop expecting fancy new tech to solve operational issues that have simple solutions in place that aren't being used.

3d models on the manufacturer page - I can definitely imagine this showing up on high priced items.

Re:What a waste of time (1)

justforgetme (1814588) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232877)

At least for high production volume items (so not one-of Versache dresses)
it is completely plausible the manufacturers supplying 3d models as well
as imagery for their products. After all almost everything is computer
designed at the time.

Re:What a waste of time (1)

unrtst (777550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39234823)

It's also completely plausible the manufacturers would provide hi-res** 2d images of each side of the device, but they don't.

The current deficiencies are easy to overcome. We don't need detailed 3d models to figure out if that port on the back of a projector is HDMI, Display Port, USB, eSATA, or memory stick (all similar dimensions that would be difficult to differentiate in a 3d model, but dead simple with just a camera phone quality image of the back of the damn thing, or a few lines of text).

I'm not against adding 3d views of products. But the OP is saying there isn't enough info on the sites already, but if they added a 3d model to all the product pages it would help immensely. Car analogy - I'm not always sure where the taxis are taking me cause there is no map in them, but if they were all transparent flying cars I could use binoculars to look all around and see exactly where I am! Why ignore the simply solution (carry a map; use a detailed 2d picture) and push one that is far more complex, non-existent/supported, expensive, and provides no additional benefit.

** hi-res being at least what my camera phone is capable of... which is enough to make out all the little text on the back of a PC).

Re:What a waste of time (2)

TheGreatDonkey (779189) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233141)

One would think if a few large retailers got together and set a base standard of images they expect a mfr. to provide for a product, this may alleviate some of the issues. While it shifts the "burden" to the mfr, its in their marketing dept's best interest to take the time to provide the pictures so the product moves off the shelves.

From there, the standard could mature into 360 views and maybe one day in my lifetime 3D. Baby steps ...

Re:What a waste of time (1)

unrtst (777550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39234747)

I don't think you've thought this through.

1. As you said, it'd likely come from the marketing department. Look at any box or ad out there and it should be easy to see that they're not going to provide all the yes/no's needed to make an informed decision. Ex. Newegg nearly always has more info and pictures than the box the product arrives in, and sometimes they have more than the product manual.

2. This is one of the "features" that keep big retailers in power. Or, rather, the lack of mfr provided media. They can differentiate themselves some by the quality and quantity of information they provide about their products. You expect them to define the standard that will make it easier for startups to compete with them?

3. See #1... if this ever did happen, I'd continue to shop at places that add their own info/media. I do not trust the manufacturers marketing department to tell me that, for example, the eSATA port on their device doesn't support port multiplier. They'll list the features it does have (8 really fast USB ports!), instead of their limitations (7x USB 2.0 ports, 1x USB 3.0 port).

A standard info pack would be nice, and would be welcome to set a baseline of information. It doesn't solve the original posters problem, nor does it solve the 3d model problem (that won't be required for a LONG LONG time, and a 3d model is unlikely to let you differentiate between types of ports (ex. dual use USB+eSATA port; or hdmi vrs display port; they still need specs and good labels on the pics, and that's a convenience that the big retailers currently add themselves)).

Maybe someday, but the online retailers are the wrong trees at which to bark :-)

Re:What a waste of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39240273)

eSATA/USB combo ports are very easy to identify, actually.

Re:What a waste of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233263)

Totally agreed.
We need technology that allows you to create content easier, not richer. Then you can set out to make it richer.
It may work for one or two specific shops - it won't be THE new web shopping.

Re:What a waste of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232669)

Yes, this and the ability to measure products -- say, to make sure case A will fit my phone X.

But what this needs is not a good interactive 3D-on-web platform -- a downloadable model for any free viewer would serve both of our purposes quite well. What's needed is a cheap enough, fast enough 3D scanner (which must capture both geometry and a series of closeup images for texturing, so we can read labels, etc.) and a cheap enough, fast enough software workflow to finish the output up to professional quality, so some retailer can afford to add 3D models for less cost than the increased sales from people like us. I don't see that being here, so if we get anything at all in 3D, it's as likely to be a crude approximation of shape with nice textures applied as an accurate representation of the product -- a good product photographer. given time and authorization to take dozens of angles (instead of 3-4) of each product, would be better.

Re:What a waste of time (2)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232685)

Until the 3D image is actually some sort of functional 3D projection, what's the point?

Quite so.

Today's 3d technology is not at a useful level. It's much like the video phones in 200A Space Odyssey. A cute "Sci-Fi" fad, but not a truly useful consumer technology.


Much like the 3d televisions: A curious and half-assed implementation held back by the state of the technology, and of dubious value other than as a curiosity. If you're rich enough to by a 3d big-screen, why not? But otherwise, it's just not much of an experience.

The other point I want to touch on is this: For some reason, there are many people that are of the opinion that applying advanced technology to something automatically makes it better (like electronic balloting). But it is very rarly the actual case.

How much value would this really add beyond the kind of 2d 360 viewing technology we already have (think NewEgg)? Maybe for some things, but not a lot if any for most things.


We've already seen this... (3, Funny)

Kennric (22093) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232199)

Spatula City already led this revolution, perhaps just a bit too far ahead of its time.

Huzzah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232271) inteface that makes shopping harder!

Won't use unless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232287)

I can wear a 3D headset with it. Actually, I want to wear something like Iron Man's helmet, and make it so that no matter where I turn my head, there is something 3D that I can look at.

And then I want a full metal exoskeleton that I can use to fly around in and fight bad guys and blow up watermelons with! I could pee inside of it and drink my own purified urine!

I would totally pay $300 for one of those. Any more than that and it's a rip-off. Even if you tossed in a portable energy generator. If you get enough Chinese children, you can build these for $150 each and make a 100% profit!

Who want's this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232291)

The problem isn't that web devs can't figure out 3D. The problem is rotating and zooming an object in 3d space is much harder for users then clicking a picture to show a different angle. Most of Adobe's plugin techs can render 3D just fine. If this was the kind of thing users wanted in a web store, you'd think someone would have used it by now.

Just me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232309)

Is it me or do the animations look really choppy and clunky looking? Must be powered by Intel graphics.

In the interest of understanding this better. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232317)

XML3D sounds intriguing. And since we all know that porn drives new technology, it is only logical that there must be a porn site that is using this technology. And for purely educational reasons, I was wondering if someone could post a porn site that is using XML3D - I have to actually see this technology in action to truly understand it.

NOPE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232333)

I will not acknowledge 3D screens/monitors/viewing technology until a camera which detects my distance and position with reference to the screen is always embedded into the system to make it possible to look at the monitor from the top/sides. Also I will consequently not acknowledge 3D technology until monitors can be viewed from 180/180 hor/ver degrees without visual distortion.

Re:NOPE (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232411)

Please show me the 2D LCD which has a viewing angle of 180x180 without (colour) distortion.

Re:NOPE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232595)

Well the GP didn't say LCD, did it?

Re:NOPE (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232803)

But LCDs are the most common 2D viewing technology today, and no one I know denies it the status of a valid 2D viewing technology just because you can't get a non-distorted image when looking from the side. The point being that the demand is ridiculously high.

Oh, and BTW, a hologram wouldn't be valid 3D according to his definition either because it lacks an eye tracking camera!

Re:NOPE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232911)

Surely 3D viewing technology like holograms have to have an eye tracking camera or there'd be visual distortion because there are no such light emission technologies which can be applied to holograms.

Re:NOPE (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233081)

Have you ever seen a hologram?

yay (1)

dredwerker (757816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232341)

All over again.

Re:yay (1)

binkzz (779594) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238103)

I was going to mention! The store where you could match and view clothes in full 3d. They poured so many tens of millions of dollars into it before it burst, but it was cool to look at while it was still online.

Coming soon to YOUR web browswer: (1)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232471)

4chan in 3D!
(You're welcome)

Re:Coming soon to YOUR web browswer: (1)

nystire (871449) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233265)

Just so long as it's 4chan and not outright goatse/tubgirl/2 girls 1 cup.

Switching to stamp collecting as new hobby.... (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 2 years ago | (#39234569)

Goatse in Interactive 3D?

Spelunkers are now cringing in terror, you insensitive clod!

Why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232501)

A 3D view may be good for clothing, home decor, furniture but it does not solve much in terms of helping a consumer purchase the right item. Does this solve size vs. proper fit? Does a 3D rendered view help you determine if an item is cheap junk? Actually a 3D rendered view can make something look like cheap junk.
Also a 3D demo with a camera is pretty lame. Am I buying a camera because I like how a lens or flash looks on it or how well it is going to take pictures?

This may be best applied for items that can be purchased and printed on a 3D printer.

I liked it better when it was called X3D (2)

nickmalthus (972450) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232585)

I am not sure what XML3D provides that X3D or Collada does not. Another "not invented here" technology? 3D scene creation is complex and compelling visualizations will never be able to be XML hand coded like HTML can be.

Re:I liked it better when it was called X3D (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39239297)

Wouldn't it be better to have a standardized, text-based, declarative format for 3D where you can View Source, instead of each site running its own crappy Flash player for their opaque 3D content? As a comparison, SVG is also a mess to look at, but there are tools to parse and modify it. It sure beats having to reverse-engineer an SWF file. It's also safer than Flash.

But you're right, it's not evident that this "XML3D" format has any advantage over existing ones that are already widely used and standardized. X3D plays in browsers right now [] without a plugin (or special browser build = worse than a plugin). It also seems to me that the name "XML3D" is intentionally confusing. Reminds me of Microsoft's naming strategy with "Office Open XML", a name that apart from being a lie is intentionally similar to OpenOffice.

Too much style without substance (2)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232599)

I want reviews from real people, specs, facts and comparison shopping when I shop online. All of my purchases are thoroughly researched and vetted for at least 3-4 weeks before I plunk my money down(big purchase anyway). If I really wanted to see it in great detail and touch it (feel it) I'd go to a retail store. I dunno maybe this will catch on with the emotional buying crowd but if I'm buying something online this is a big waste.

full-body avatar (3, Insightful)

thegoldenear (323630) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232613)

I'm imagining online shopping for clothes, where your full-body avatar has all your dimensions and you get to see how clothes might look on you.

Re:full-body avatar (1)

cyclomedia (882859) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245655)

or a standardised scale for furniture, so you can compare how different sofas from different stores will look in your living room (of course, you already have the 3d house plan, from when you first viewed the house)

Again... ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232621)

The 3D web has extremely limited uses.

Unless you FORCE the entire web to go 3D like in the Futurama age, things just aren't going to work.
Most websites will just throw 2D content up on 3D canvases and call it a day. That is just going to ruin it.

However! This will be extremely useful for those working with Canvas to add 3D. Combined with that, it could be pretty powerful for games and other social applications such as the chatroom style you saw in said episode of Futurama that was essentially just a bar of bits.

On here if anyone missed it.
31st century internet []
Note also that Comedy Central are terrible and probably have it region limited. Yep, they do. Die CC, die.

3d, a solution desparately in search of a problem (2)

smoothnorman (1670542) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232625)

The central problem with 3d-ing stuff is that it solves no problem, scratches no apparent itch, feeds no bull-dog, *and* annoys the pig. Every implementation i've been 'lucky' enough to observe comes off as a skit John Candy did where the 3d feature was made the central feature of the plot (of some silly B-movie). oh, here's a sample (forgot it was "Dr Tongue") []

So... "look at this crap we want you to by... *look* at it! ooo..." [moves object fitfully in/out of visual plan]

Re:3d, a solution desparately in search of a probl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232687)

The central problem with 3d-ing stuff is that it solves no problem, scratches no apparent itch, feeds no bull-dog, *and* annoys the pig.

Agreed, up to a point. Maybe it's just an artistic itch?

Re:3d, a solution desparately in search of a probl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233939)

It was tried in the late 1990's and early 2000's. Places like ActiveWorlds, Worlds, Inc. et al had partners. You could shop in a virtual store and buy goods that were sent to you. Let's also not forget VRML, which was billed to do the same thing. Seriously, nobody cares. They want to type "Canon i462" into a box, look at a picture, check out specs, read user reviews and buy it on a flat page. Because it is more efficient than dragging a stupid avatar around looking for the thing you want (like in a real store) getting lost (like in a real store) and having to ask somebody where the hell they keep their cameras (like in a real store) then gaining little to no information about the actual product (like in a real store) with the added downside of not being able to physically touch the object.

I've even coined a term for this. Generational amnesia. People my age can remember when this stuff was tried and it was stupid. The next generation didn't learn the lesson and is trying again.

Re:3d, a solution desparately in search of a probl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39239455)

Web shops and UIs were never good examples. But think of sharing designs for 3D printers. Or webapps for game creation, animation movie editing, architecture planning. Or construction diagrams: how much more comprehensible those could be once you can navigate them in all dimensions. Or data visualization. An added dimension goes a long way.

without being hardcore graphics programmers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232683)

HUH? Wouldn't you put the object to be sold on top of a properly lit platform, surrounded by 24 cameras, press a button, then software converts all the images into something a shopper could quickly and easily spin around?

Call Joan Rivers. She already has this on Fashion Police.

Or just flip all 24 images with 20 lines of javascript and 4 buttons.

Have not video game platforms perfected the Wolfenstien 'run around a building and grab things' interface a long time ago? Put up dresses and fishing rods instead of game items. Would not ebay be just another level? How is a poorly designed, ever changing virtual floor plan any more intuitive than a bad site search engine and an ever changing menu system?

Gaming consoles would be the platform not PC's. The Kids have the gaming consoles. The Kids would be right at home embracing this new tech, if it is going to be embraced. Not grandpa and his blackberry and his VCR. Grandpa is just going to drive her to the mall, where he can sit in the lounge and drink while she is shopping. She over spends and he over drinks. Neither says anything about the other and life is good.

With a gaming console in the media room, The ladies could sit on the couch with their girlfriends in front of the big screen and shop. After all, shopping is more enjoyable as a group activity.

The only way 3D internet could work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232731)

is if it was used with glasses so that they would project websites out in front of you without obstructing your vision.

Imagine how awesome it would be if you could be driving a school bus while reading and posting at 4chan and listening to 'You Are A Pirate." And you could be texting your wife and your mistress at the same time, while carrying on a phone conversation.

You could be doing 6 things at the same time while taking a bunch of little brats to their public school.

Second Life tried this (4, Informative)

biodata (1981610) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232885)

Everyone bought cocks, got bored and left.

Re:Second Life tried this (1)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233825)

Heh! Actually SL still exists, and is doing quite well as far as I can tell.

This would actually be perfect for a SL web shop.

Re:Second Life tried this (1)

Raenex (947668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39236615)

Heh! Actually SL still exists, and is doing quite well as far as I can tell.

Probably not as well as Facebook, which given all the media hype it went through in its earliest stages is where the expectations were. It sounds like now that it's succeeding as a niche. Based on a quick search, it averages about a million active users. Linden Labs claims to be profitable, but they don't say by how much.

What does 3D have to do with online shopping? (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233747)

Seems to me the story submitter has lost his common sense (if he ever had one). This connection is beyond stupid. First, online shopping is something that needs to reach the largest number of people possible, hence the technology needs to be simple and solid. 3D is an enemy of that. Then, people need to not spend too much time before they buy, as that decreases throughput. 3D is an enemy of that. And then, presenting things in 3D and while not adding any value whatsoever, this drives up the costs of doing business.

I vote this most stupid headline of the day.

Oh quit trying to sell us Shopping in 3D (1)

youn (1516637) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233813)

They have been trying it for years, every time a new incarnation, every time a new failure... heck even the os use 3D for purely useless cosmetic effects... it is much simpler to use a regular catalog with clicks and stuff. unless technology changes radically beyond the browser level (like total immersion display ... which does not seem practical except maybe for gaming/ movies), this is not going to happen soon

boooring (2)

Tom (822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39234007)

Various incarnations of this have been tried for at least 10 years.

All of them miss the point. That it's not more visuals that is lacking from online shopping, but other senses. Feeling the weight and texture, touching something, getting the full experience.

It's like increasing the resolution on sports TV because you think too many people still go to the event instead of watching it at home. That decision was hardly ever because the picture was so small.

The real 3D web is here, but not for consumers. (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#39234417)

Remember X3D? Didn't think so. X3D is VRML in XML syntax. It was supposed to put "3D on the web about a decade ago". There's also "Quicktime VR", which lets sites display a panorama, which can be either a move around the object or a view around the camera. A few real estate sites tried it. Didn't help much.

The real "3D on the Web" is in the industrial area. Companies from Asea Brown Boveri to Zummer are putting solid models of their products on the web. Not to look at, though. The models are for use with 3D CAD programs, so you can import the model for an off-the shelf gear or shaft extender and make sure it will fit before you buy. This makes mechanical design much easier, and tends to push buyers towards the sites with 3D models.

Parts Community [] hosts many such catalogs. Gears, gear motors, inductive proximity sensors, bearings, pneumatic cylinders, springs, robot parts, pipe fittings... The stuff you need to get work done.

Re:The real 3D web is here, but not for consumers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39240683)

Adobe Atmosphere was cool - also 10 years ago. It was easy to generate content and host it yourself, but it just didn't take off even with a big player behind it.

This is different (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39234773)

Everyone's saying it's been done before. This one's based on OpenGL, which is AWESOME, not some proprietary crap thrown out as a gimmick which requires plugins and whatnot.

My only gripe is that MS have publicly stated that they wouldn't be implementing it, citing that browsers are developed with security in mind, and awesome graphics would have to be programmed with performance in mind instead of security, and would be a major security hole.

I thought it might have just been Microsoft steering interest away from OpenGL, until I heard John Carmack talking about the same security issues.

I do hope they come around on this :P

Second Life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39234777)

3D Shopping is a failure, just take a look at Second Life. If it were so popular then why does [] even need to exist, and why is it thriving whilst in-world shops are barren and empty? It's more efficient and more effective to find items using a traditional website than the inefficient approach of stumbling through 3D space.


hey! (33014) | more than 2 years ago | (#39239507)

... Into the Future.

There. Fixed that for you.

XML3D not the only "declarative" solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39241027)

....there is also the open source X3Dom project around ( that is bringing X3D - the successor of VRML - to a webpage. You can add X3D content directly in HTML(5). Good thing: it is already a standardized file format, supported by dozens of exporters. And X3Dom doesn't reinvent the wheel, only finally doing what VRML promised. Although I wonder, whether a web designer wants to go solely with a declarative way or would rather prefer something imparatively (solely JavaScript) driven such as three.js ( or others.

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