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October 18, 2011

Google WebGL Bookcase

Google developed a WebGL app that shows a 3D model of a bookcase with more than 10,000 titles. "We designed a digital bookcase that's an infinite 3D helix. You can spin it side-to-side and up and down with your mouse," suggests Google.

WebGL Bookcase groups books into 28 categories and lets you choose one of them by clicking the button from the top of the page. The animation is impressive. Unfortunately, after selecting one of the books, the application sends you to Google Books to read it. If you have a mobile phone and an app that reads QR codes, you can open the book on your phone.

This could turn into a very cool app for tablets. A future Google Books app for iPad and Android tablets could help users explore the books that are available and even create a special section for the books already owned by the users.

For now, the app requires a browser that supports WebGL (Chrome, Firefox) and a computer with a compatible graphics card. "We recommend using Google Chrome and a fast computer with a powerful graphics card. Even with new hardware, this interface is experimental and may not work on some machines," informs Google. I tried WebGL Bookcase in the latest Aurora (Firefox 9 Alpha 2) builds and it works pretty well. Unfortunately, the app can't open books in Firefox 7.


  1. Works just fine on my mid-range Acer Aspire, with the latest Chrome running on Win 7. Very impressive indeed!

    1. You're right MikeF, it also works fine on my Acer and even without the latest Chrome on Vista!

  2. Firefox 7 on Snow Leopard working great.

  3. Oh, darn, spoke too soon. Nope, opening books doesn't work on Firefox 7. Sorry, my bad.

  4. Ahh, so that's what's running this giant touch screen version at Google's NYC office that someone on G+ had photographed back in July. I can't believe no one bothered to follow up on this back then. I'd like to see a hands on video. If only there was a blog that cover all things Google and could pull some strings...

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