The internet is definitely going to another level with 3D browsing. I’m just trying to imagine the possibilities.
INTERNET surfers will be able to walk through their favourite websites as if they are characters in a computer game with the launch of one of the first 3D browsers in Australia today.
Melbourne-based software developer ExitReality has created software that can be quickly downloaded to computers and that converts standard two-dimensional web pages into virtual rooms.
Individual web users are then shown as avatars (virtual people) in the same way as people are featured in virtual games.
ExitReality founder Danny Stefanic said users of the software, which ran in tandem with popular browsers such as Internet Explorer and Firefox, would be “blown away” by the rendering of traditional two-dimensional web pages as full interactive 3D environments.
“It is the entire web in 3D — making 40 billion virtual worlds — and it will instantly transform 2D content into 3D,” Mr Stefanic said.
Websites such as YouTube are transformed into movie theatres while social networking pages like MySpace are turned into virtual lounge rooms.
The software also enables people to see other web page visitors as avatars and interact with them, moving the Second Life model from the walled garden of the game to the entire web.
The 3D web concept was first conceived by Mr Stefanic 13 years ago and the team has been working steadily towards the launch since.
The ExitReality software comes as a 3.5-megabyte download that takes about 20 seconds to install.
The software then allows people to search for sites using the built-in search engine, which then instantly renders pages in 3D.
The developers believe the 3D model will become attractive to both advertisers and website developers as it will increase the time people spend with each web page.
Mr Stefanic said the interactive element of the avatars also meant the software could turn any page into a social networking website, allowing companies to create engagement with their customers and the customers to interact with each other.
“Say I am at the Ferrari website and you are there too. We both like Ferrari and so we immediately have something in common,” he said.
In common with virtual worlds, developers will also be able to create 3D widgets (mini computer applications) that can by used by surfers, placed on their own home pages or traded.
During testing in the US a major hamburger chain used promotional widgets that were picked up by customers and traded.
Mr Stefanic said surfers would be able to instantly toggle between 3D and traditional 2D displays.
ExitReality’s revenue model will be driven largely by its own search engine, as advertisers are more likely to want to be featured on 3D sites.
Engines such as Google and Yahoo will still work.
Mr Stefanic said ExitReality would also have its own home page like Yahoo and Google.
The model will also be language neutral, with ExitReality portals to be launched in a number of languages today.
source: 3D browser