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Mozilla Partners With Graphics Consortium On 3D Web Browsers

March 25, 2009

Mozilla, the developer of the Firefox browser, has joined forces with graphics consortium Khronos in an effort to move 3D web content closer to reality, BBC News reported.

Khronos said “accelerated 3D graphics” on the web is currently underway and the company hopes to set the standard for the new technology.

Experts say 3D graphics capability could lead to widespread browser-based gaming as well as creating 3D environments in social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace.

The company hopes to release the first public version within a year.

Mozilla’s infrastructure engineer Vladimir Vukicevic posted on his blog: “For a number of reasons, I think now is the time to figure out what an initial take of 3D on the web should look like.”

He said that as people begin doing more and more on the web, adding 3D to the mix would ensure that current web applications can experiment with new user experiences, while also enabling new classes of web applications.

Mozilla’s proposed development would create a mechanism to let JavaScript (the programming language used to write many web-based applications) tap into the widely used OpenGL graphics interface technology.

February marked the special browser-based re-release of the classic game Quake III. Since that time, browser-based games have begun to thrive in the online gaming sector.

Paul Jackson, an analyst with research firm Forrester, said a 3D-enabled web could provide a kickstart for virtual world games such as Second Life.

Jackson suggested that some users are put off by virtual worlds because they require hefty downloads to install the games. But once such games are available directly from a web browser, it would curb download times and have much wider implications for non-gamers.

“Social networks could create 3D chat rooms and retailers could provide proper 3D visualizations of their products,” he said.

He added that since most people are much more used to walking around and picking things up, a 3D browser could eventually lead to a more naturalistic way of interaction on the Internet.

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