Google recently introduced the O3D project on Google Code. The main objective of the project is to develop
“a new, shader-based, low-level graphics API for creating interactive 3D applications in a web browser”.
Google joins the Khronos Group to develop standards for the authoring and acceleration of parallel computing, graphics and dynamic media with this project.
The project is still in a very early stage and Google plans to include a broad developer community to shape the API and use the benefits of an open-source project. Google brings it’s expertise in web developement and the technology they have developed with SketchUp and GoogleEarth to the table while the community may contribute knowledge, experience and feedback.
We’re looking forward for a broad adoption for this standardized solution in perspective of high-fidelity 3D visualizations that can be rendered in realtime directly in the browser. Projects like this bring us closer to making data openly available and consumable while using sophisticated visualization methods. Just like Flash or Silverlight O3D too requires the installation of a plugin but what seems promissing is the open-source character of the technology. As with everything new, only time can tell whether mass adoption will happen.