US News and World Report’s Matt Bandyk has a post describing how online shopping could herald a new, Wall-E-esque future of obese, screen-driven sloths.
The site that spurred his idea is called VirtualEShopping.com. Their software enables users to enter a virtual mall via a digital meme, or “persona,” which they steer it around a 3-D mall environment, bargain hunting and chatting with other personas on the way. VirtualEShopping garners revenue from pay-per-click ads posted around the mall, as well as store revenues.
To check out the digital mall for myself, I downloaded their Virtual Mall application. It appears the site isn’t complete yet—the only thing the application allowed me to do was point myself in certain directions inside of a 3-D banner. Unfortunately, I didn’t get much further than the mall’s hallways—storefronts didn’t appear to be activated yet. I felt kind of like a canvasser, or one of those people who works in the cellphone stands placed in the middle of mall walkways.
VirtualEMalls is more evidence that Web 3.0 might just be Web 3-D. Applications like CoolIris’ PicLens, which creates browsable image walls on existing sites, and SpaceTime, which arranges windows in 3-D stacks, herald a promising new era of eyeball-friendly Internet visuals.
One major reason applications like this haven’t taken off is that they’re buggy as flea-bitten dog. I won’t go into details. Suffice to say I won’t be downloading any more until a) I get better graphics hardware on my system and b) the applications stop munging my browser.
Nevertheless, my chronically strained corneas look forward to a more visually appealing Web 3.0.