With Amazon announcing its 3-D phone at a press conference yesterday, we decided to examine the best and worst possibilities of using 3-D technology on the Internet.
The Best Possibilities of 3-D Internet
Gaming is the obvious application of 3-D Internet. Some gaming companies have already started down the 3D road with mixed results. Three dimensional gameplay has been around since 1981, although the game still only had two dimensional graphics. With 25 years-worth of improved graphics and increasing realism, creating a complete, interactive, 3-D environment seems like the ultimate escape for gamers.
Imagine taking a virtual walk through a car lot without leaving your seat. With the potential of 3-D technology you may soon be able to get an accurate view of a car, home, or anything else you’re looking to purchase, from every angle. It will be just like being in those autotrader.com commercials.
Google Street View 3-D Tours
Amazon demoed what they called “Dynamic Perspective” where a 3-D building was displayed. The same technology could take you on a virtual tour of almost any place in the world. The complete immersion into the 3-D environment would be like outsourcing your visual perception to the destination of your choice. Could it ever really take the place of traveling?
True Online Marketplaces
Turning a webpage into a 3-D space would create new challenges for web designers. One such challenge could be how users would navigate a three dimensional landscape and how that might affect the layout of navigation and menu bars. Perhaps in a world of 3-D Internet, navigation menus will be set up along the Z axis. Users could “walk” into the webpage like walking down the street at an outdoor bazaar. Home, Blog, About Us, and any other navigation links could be the banners above the different booths at the “marketplace.”
You could combine this idea with the 3-D shopping we mentioned earlier. Models and product images on shopping sites have the potential to explode into 3-D visuals, allowing you to see the product in scope, or look around a model to see how the fabric of the dress actually falls.
Video chat in 3-D would be the next best thing to teleportation. It’s the next natural progression for Skype, Facetime, or Google Hangouts. Combined with 3-D camera technology like Google’s Project Tango, you could virtually be in the same room with someone from anywhere in the world. Careful, although you see her face, it’s still just an image; don’t try to kiss it goodnight.
The Worst Fears about 3-D Internet
Physical Distortions from Photoshop
You’ve seen the poorly photoshopped pictures people put online. They tuck in a little fat here, give themselves a little more curve there. By the time they’re done, the edge of the wall behind them looks like a silly straw. Now imagine adding a third dimension to that chaos. The results would be enough to give M.C. Escher a headache.
You think you’re bombarded with pop-up ads now, wait until advertisers get a third dimension of real estate. They won’t hesitate to use it. Pop-ups will become pop-outs. They will literally be in your face. Plus, the new technology will probably be ahead of the software designed to block pop-ups. It will be like the great pop-up invasion of the late ‘90s, only in 3-D.
Does anybody really want to see a 3-D selfie? The reflection of your cluttered countertop through your dirty bathroom mirror is horrifying enough in two dimensions. I don’t want to see how close you have to stand to the toilet to show your tattoo without showing your cellulite. And I definitely don’t want to see the moon-like topography of that cellulite. Let’s cap the selfie at two dimensions. Your arm isn’t long enough to get the camera far enough away to make you look good in 3-D.
Extreme Sports Go-Pro Videos
As most people who sat through The Blair Witch Project can attest, the shaky camera thing has run its course. As if it wasn’t nausea inducing enough watching the videos of extreme sports enthusiasts ride their apparatus of choice all over red rock country, then they got Go-Pro helmet cams and now you’re guaranteed to get sick watching them. Add in 3-D and we can get sick in three directions. On the bright side, no need for ipecac.
The most noise you’ve ever heard.
You know the sound, that annoying, “aww,” you hear from the people who constantly look at those sickeningly adorable cat pictures all day long. You know it’s only going to get worse if those pictures are in 3-D. Not only will the sound get louder, but the number of sources is likely to increase. The cats that run the Internet will render us all deaf through a thunderous chorus of adoration for them, yet we just can’t look away.
The inevitable next step.
Perhaps the most terrifying thing about 3-D Internet is the doors it will unlock. What will it lead to next?
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