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Tag - WebGL
Google Australia and Lego have created Build, a WebGL-based Lego construction app. Users can claim a plot of land on a map of Australia and New Zealand, and can build an object on a 32x32 starting base. Using 12 shapes in 10 different colors, builds can be saved and viewed by others on the Build with Chrome website. In a blog post, Google Australia voices hope that Build will expand to more regions in the future.
Google has further enhanced its use of WebGL to now add more 3D perspective to buildings seen on its MapsGL project, an alternative version of Google Maps (which received the improvement in March). The improvements now add a "parallax" view that allows users to pan around buildings and see them from different angles while still in overhead view. The buildings become translucent in order to avoid obscuring roadways or other landmarks while panning, and are most noticeable on taller buildings.
Google took advantage of its 3D acceleration tricks Wednesday to introduce Google Maps 3D photo tours. The technique uses the optional MapsGL mode, which uses WebGL to get a speed boost, to steer viewers through a 3D photo scene. The technology stitches together publicly available Panoramio and Picasa photos, using Google's own 3D depth calculations and transitions to get the added dimensions.
Mozilla has posted the finished release of Firefox 12. The browser has a key update each for Mac and Windows users. Windows' update is most conspicuous and doesn't need the user to confirm the update in a User Account Control prompt on Vista or 7. Mac users see a lift, as Mozilla has fixed slow WebGL graphics performance on some hardware.
Google on Wednesday posted the finished version of Chrome 18. The stable version now brings hardware graphics speedups to HTML5's Canvas for 2D and is potentially much faster for certain websites. Acceleration works on both Macs and Windows PCs, but not Linux so far.
Google in the same breath as the Chrome 17 final release has also posted a beta release of Chrome 18. The new version swings attention to graphics and now hardware accelerates 2D elements using HTML5's Canvas spec, a common part of more advanced websites. Animations and action-sensitive websites should see the most benefit.
Google has just released a teaser video, embedded below, that shows off an upcoming Google Maps-based game. Likely made for portable devices with a motion/gyroscope sensor, users would navigate a ball through the streets by making it follow a cursor, as mocked up in the real-life second video. The game will be powered by WebGL and be available through Google+ Games.
Sony Ericsson has announced that its recent software updates for 2011 Xperia handsets bring support for WebGL. The company claims to be the first to support the WebGL standard in the stock Android browser, enabling users to take advantage of interactive 3D graphics without switching to third-party apps.
Google is currently previewing an "infinite digital bookcase" concept that attempts to organize vast libraries of digital titles. Rather than placing the books on a traditional bookcase, covers are placed on an infinite 3D helix and organized into 28 different subjects. Users can click on a title to view the title, author information and a short synopsis.