Tuesday, April 17, 2007

3D Web

Newsweek has a big article up about the 3D web.

From "The Coming Virtual Web:"

"They suggest that before long, the Internet of the future, and the vast wealth of information and services on it, will look different: slicker, more realistic, more interactive and social than anything we experience today through the Web browser. "Three-dimensional virtual worlds will, in the near future, be pervasive interfaces for the Internet," says Bob Moore, a sociologist who studies virtual worlds at Palo Alto Research Center, or PARC, the legendary Xerox (XRX) lab in Silicon Valley.

Above all, virtual worlds hold the potential to transform social interaction online: In contrast to the Web, where there's almost no assumption of a human heartbeat behind the Web page, virtual worlds are inherently social settings. "You go up to an avatar and you know there's a real person on the other end," says Joe Miller, vice-president for platform and technology development at Second Life creator Linden Lab.

"Virtual worlds will be bigger in five years for shopping than the Web," contends T. Sibley Verbeck, CEO of Electric Sheep, which helps businesses market in Second Life and other venues.

The main challenge, though, isn't technical. It's conceptual. Today's 3D interfaces are a work in progress. "They're dragging too much of the baggage of the real world into online," says Multiverse Marketing Director and Executive Producer Corey Bridges, citing virtual stores built by the likes of Circuit City (CC) and Sears (S) in Second Life."

From "The Virtual Meeting Room:"

"At the typical global corporation, 20% of employees have never met their boss in person, House says. And 3D spaces offer a level of interaction that's not possible over the phone or via videoconferencing, says Sebastien Jeanjean, head of sales and marketing at France's Tixeo, a maker of corporate virtual-world software used by customers including Raytheon. "In 2D, even if you hear and see a person, you still have a feeling of being alone," Jeanjean says. "After half an hour, it's very difficult to keep people's attention."

From "Digital Suburbia:"

"In Second Life, you're encouraged to explore an alternative universe," says Klaus. "We're trying to keep within human boundaries, and get you into that world where 'first life' isn't separate from 'second life.'"

In Klaus' virtual world, dragons, aliens, and castles are not allowed. The idea is to create a Norman Rockwell setting that is seen as stable and safe by big-brand companies that want to promote their products without worrying that the medium may be too uncontrollable or chaotic."

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