There’s something about seeing an ordinary object online in 3D that makes it seem exciting. Even though everything in real life is 3D, it’s cool when movies or computers can do it.
If you are genuinely enthused by 3D objects, you must have a very exciting life. Hey Joe, you’re in 3D! There’s my car, and it’s 3D too! And my hands! They look so real. Far out!
Anyway, if you like the idea of browsing the web in 3D, here are some options.
PicLens is a Firefox extension that creates a 3D immersive slideshow of popular image sites like Flickr, Google Images, Facebook, among many others.
It creates a full browser screen that makes you feel like you’re at an art museum and all the images are hanging on the wall in front of you. It has good wow appeal and allows you to view pictures more easily than if you were browsing page by page.
SpaceTime lets you search Google, YouTube, RSS, eBay, Amazon, Yahoo!, Flickr and Images all in one 3D space.
PogoBrowser (invite only at the moment) is AT&T’s 3D browser built on Gecko, Mozilla’s rendering engine (used by Mozilla Firefox, Thunderbird and Sunbird). Instead of using tabs, they have cells at the bottom. It’s not immediately obvious how this is better than tabs. You can see small thumbnails, but they use up screen real estate. Opera shows thumbnails if you mouse over a tab, providing the utility and freeing up your screen at the same time. You can view your date-based history and bookmarks in all their 3D glory, but on my dual 3.4GHz Xeon with 4GB of RAM the 3D rendering was achingly slow. It’s kind of neat, but that wears off in a few minutes. I don’t see the advantage over a faster browser like Firefox 3.
UBrowser is an open source test mule that renders interactive web pages onto geometry using OpenGL and an embedded instance of Gecko, the Mozilla rendering engine. Its primary purpose is to help integrate Gecko into Second Life.
VistaZoo is a customizable portal where you can create virtual tours combining panoramas, pictures, video, audio, floorplans and objects in 3D. Your tours will be uploaded and placed on a map. Once the tour has been created, you can embed it into other websites.