Firefox is not yet a 3D browser. Though 3D technology has already come to cinema halls and television, modern browsers are still taking the first few steps through the dimensions. (Remember Spacetime?) 3D will eventually come to the browser near you because it represents a huge entertainment potential for online games, streaming media, and even shopping sites. Why, your run-of-the-mill image gallery could grab eyeballs by the hundreds with some cool 3D stuff.
The technology may be ripening with some fresh developments every day, but there are some simple ways to explore the potential that exist today – with a few 3D Firefox plugins for example.
Here are five Firefox addons that can give you a just a slight taste of 3D browsing on the browser.
If you look at the user count, it’s easy to make out that FoxTab is a very popular Firefox add-on. It’s not only because it’s a cool 3D browsing tool. It changes the appearance of your browser and gives you a fun way to use browser tabs. FoxTab gives you an elegant jumping off point by adding your favorite websites and accessing them with one click. The Top Sites feature works like speed dial. You can right click on any webpage and select Add To Top Sites to populate FoxTab. With a click you can pick a choice of six 3D visualizations – for instance, carousel, grid, page flow, wall, stack, and row.
It’s not only the 3D appearance but also genuine tab management features like tab grouping, a find tool, and tab selection that make this worth a download. To better your browser’s appearance, you can customize FoxTab with themes and a background image.
3D browsing on Firefox comes at a cost of installing an 8.8 MB sized add-on. Even if you decide against it, try it out once. It’s definitely a cool 3D like experience on the browser. The browser add-on is like a 3D gallery that scrolls by. You can swiftly scan YouTube videos, stock photo sites, or webpage links before clicking on one and opening them normally. There are some Cooliris enabled websites which allow you to watch the add-on’s created 3D wall…an endless stream of videos or images by just clicking the small Cooliris icon next to the thumbnail.
Cooliris can create 3D walls on any site that implements a Media RSS tag in their code. For example, you can breeze through a Facebook photo gallery with Cooliris. We had done a very early review of Cooliris back in 2008. Also read – Embed a 3D Photo Gallery in Your Website With Cooliris.
This 3D Firefox plugin draws a 3D color cube of an image showing the distribution of colors. The add-on could be useful for digital artists as moving the mouse on parts of the image also displays the color values. You can rotate the cube along the 3D plane to check out alternate perspectives. Color Inspector can be compared to a 3D image histogram in the way it shows the distribution of the tones captured. Apart from this visual representation, the usefulness is limited for the general user.
Analglyph 3D is another fun add-on that can ‘convert’ any simple two-dimensional image and give it the appearance of 3D. In general such images are called anaglyph images. Simply, right click on any image and choose Image 3D option from the context menu. You can view the images in color or black and white. It could be fun if you have some plastic 3D glasses lying around.
This 3D visualization add-on has been preliminarily reviewed by Mozilla. But it will only work for systems that support the hardware accelerated WebGL technology. Mine does not, so I couldn’t try it out. Tilt, going by the description on the Mozilla page, creates a 3D visualization of a webpage. Apart from the fun element, it might not be very useful for viewing webpages. When it comes to online games playable within a browser, it could really catch the appeal. As it hasn’t been completely reviewed, there could be bugs in the 3D rendering add-on. If your hardware supports WebGL technology, do drop a line on the performance of the add-on.
What’s your take on 3D browsing? How would you like to use it? Do you think it will be just eye-candy for general browsing or a game changer? Let us know.
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