WebGL slips into Chrome, too, for 3D Web

Google's browser is the latest to get support for a nascent standard for building accelerated 3D graphics into Web pages and Web applications.

When it comes to built-in support for hardware-accelerated 3D graphics, WebGL is being built into Firefox and the browser project behind Safari, and now Chrome is following suit.

"Preliminary WebGL support is now being compiled into Chrome," said Kenneth Russell a Wednesday message to a Chrome mailing list. But, he warned, WebGL itself is still under development and that new versions of the WebKit browser technology on which Chrome is based might cause incompatibilities for now.

WebGL can be used in the latest Chrome developer preview version--but only if "--enable-webgl" and "--no-sandbox" command-line switches are added when Chrome launches. The latest versions are Chrome for Windows and for Mac OS X and Linux.

WebGL began at Mozilla and Khronos Group, the organization that oversees the OpenGL 3D graphics interface. WebGL lets programmers creating Web sites issue commands for drawing 3D graphics, but the standard is still under development. The general idea is important for advanced Web sites and for Web-based applications, which although steadily getting more sophisticated don't yet match their analogs that run natively on computers.

Google supports WebGL but also is working on a separate, higher-level 3D interface for browsers called O3D.