The notion that the Web will transform into a three-dimensional space and that an avatar will be involved in our "travels" through this virtual world has been voiced from a range of sources. One such vision is that Second Life or a similar virtual world will grow to become this if a common grid protocol were adopted and anyone who wished could connect a server running a "space" on a compatible engine. This is, of course, very similar to how the Internet itself grew and Linden Labs has taken some steps in the direction of making this a possibility. An alternate path is offered by a new three-dimensional web browser still in beta called ExitReality. Here an attempt is made to render an existing two-dimensional web site in 3D with some thought given to how a site could be made more three dimensional by its owners. As with virtual worlds, an ExitReality avatar representing the person using the browser is incorporated into the experience and it is possible to encounter others surfing three-dimensionally with the browser as well. This paper explores the feasibility, potential, and challenges to creating a three-dimensional Web. The role that rapidly-expanding social networking on the Internet (Facebook, MySpace, etc.) may play, either in encouraging the development of the three-dimensional Web or modifying the vision by making site-localized virtual "rooms" like Yoville or Google's Lively the only three dimensionality attached to sites, is explored. Diffusion of innovations theory is applied to address factors that are likely to affect the adoption of a three-dimensional web and which of the possible paths will be most likely to succeed.
Day, Kenneth; Dong, Qingwen; and DeCoste, Tammy, "Virtual Worlds and the Transformation of the Web to 3D" (2009). MG 2009 Proceedings. 3.