[X3D-Public] O3D - Google's 3D JavaScript API

Ben Francis mail at tola.me.uk
Thu Apr 23 07:40:08 PDT 2009

Hi Len,

On Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 2:00 PM, Len Bullard <cbullard at hiwaay.net> wrote:

> 1. Google is well-aware of X3D and VRML.   They declined to participate.

I didn't know that. Who within Google declined to participate and when?
Perhaps that could change?

> 2. No one has made any case for the shininess of the teapot and you don’t
> seem to be answering the technical question, what is better about the O3D
> scene graph.

I don't think I have the experience to make judgements on what is or isn't
better about the O3D scene graph, I was hoping that interested members of
the consortium with more experience than me could objectively look at
Google's work and make judgements on its technical merits.

> You were
> recruited into a secret project to launch a Google product before it is
> ready for launch.

Apologies for any confusion I may have caused you, but I have never worked
on the O3D project. I simply heard about it during my internship with the
company. When I heard about the project, I contacted the team working on it
to ask them why it was they'd chosen not to adopt X3D. The team kindly
agreed to arrange a videoconference where they told me more about the
project and I gave a little pitch for X3D. I then signed up to the trusted
testers programme which allowed me access an early demo. Since then, I have
chosen to use X3D to implement my final year university project, a paper on
which I am presenting at the Web3D Symposium.

You are beginning from the positions that a) something is wrong with X3D b)
> something is right about the Google API


> and you offer no technical arguments to support said claims.

Not at all. I am beginning from the point of view of a student who has seen
both approaches and is interested in discussions about their relative
merits. I am interested in more than just technical arguments, I'm also
interested in what causes one technology to get adopted over another.

On the one hand I see a mature ISO standard which I perceive to have quite
low adoption among end users, and on the other hand I see immature projects
which may get wide distribution purely because they are part of already
popular software packages. At some point I expect a particular technology
will reach critical mass, I'm just asking (perhaps awkward) questions so
that I can do my bit to attempt to encourage the best breed of technology to
get the widest adoption in the long run.

The business of creating standards is serious and requires both scrutiny and
> open policies with participation agreed in advance.   Otherwise, it
> devolves
> into the kinds of shenanigans the 3D web community has been watching from
> IBM, Second Life, Forterra, Google and others in the last few years of
> failed initiatives.

Are you saying that unless Google signs up as a member of the consortium
then you are not interested in talking to them? Does this also apply to
browser vendors? I, perhaps naively, thought that it could do no harm to
approach these organisations to attempt to start a public dialogue on a
public mailing list about common aims. That is what I understand as
"openness". Now that you've said this, I feel slightly embarrassed about
inviting someone at Google to participate in the discussion. I can't help
but feel that if other people are made to feel this way, what results is an
insular, inward looking forum for discussion.



Ben Francis
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