Hello and welcome friends of the Wider Web!
A lot happened this week for the Wider Web with software releases from big teams at Microsoft, Vive, and Igalia as well as from more independent organizations like Janus3D and Wolf3D.
I’ve started publicly gathering links over on read.widerweb.org so head over there if you want to see news and events before I edit them down for the Transmutable News Weekly. Members of my new Wider Web Mastodon instance can join a discussion about each link and as membership grows I hope that it will turn into a lovely place to discuss the Wider Web and Agreement Bedrock.
De-bone those URLs, put on your thinking caps, and write snappy snippets to summarize those sites because it’s time for another issue of the Transmutable News Weekly!
Opportunities for support
The HTC Vive team released their new Wider Web browser to Viveport, their app store, and it is compatible with their Focus, Focus Plus, and Flow headsets. This is another successful port of Wolvic to new hardware and continues the trend of diversifying immersive browsers on heterogeneous hardware, a good step toward solidifying the health and openness of the Wider Web. A demonstration video is available in this tweet.
Robert Long released an update on Third Room, their Wider Web experience engine that sits on top of the media-rich Matrix fediverse. You can read about their goals, design concepts and a minimal viable product punch-list in this summary.
The Babylon.js team released version 5 of their increasingly capable and feature-rich Wider Web experience engine. A big feature is deep and thorough support for WebGPU, the new standard for communicating with the powerful graphics processors in modern PCs and headsets. In this interview with co-creator David Rousset there are hints that Microsoft may have a Wider Web offering to take part in the current Metaverse hype wave.
Summer announced an open source library that uses computer vision to track the position of eye pupils and to derive gaze directions. These two capabilities are essential for achieving the “fish tank” effect on flat displays (in which the display changes the rendered point of view based on head or eye pose) as well as for optimization of rendering on head mounted displays using foveated rendering (in which only the part of the display that is directly gazed upon is rendered at the highest quality).
The people working to upgrade Ethereum from the energy hungry Proof of Work consensus algorithm to the more efficient Proof of Stake algorithm release another update and it’s an interesting snapshot of the complexity involved with significantly modifying a complex mesh of clients and services run by competing actors with billions of dollars at stake. These are all characteristics of our future Wider Web and Agreement Bedrock so it’s a case study to understand. The two main features of Ethereum are the consensus layer (how everyone agrees on the validity of transactions) and the execution layer (how everyone agrees on a program’s results) and the Merge will (hopefully) replace the consensus layer.
Following up their recent integration with 8th Wall, Ready Player Me from Wolf3D announced an integration deal with Geenee AR, a no-code, browser-based, experience creation platform. The rapid growth of this sort of centralized identity and digital body services is one sign that the Wider Web is entering a new phase of development with larger budgets, bigger teams, and wider deployments that may or may not match the core concepts of a decentralized and open Wider Web.
Stay open and federated, friends.