Home 3D Viewing ‘Returns’ to Google Books; Eyeballs Plead for Mercy

3D Viewing ‘Returns’ to Google Books; Eyeballs Plead for Mercy

Back on April 1, Google introduced 3D viewing to its online book reader, Google Books, but the feature was short-lived. In fact, it was down the next day. As was obvious at the time, Google was having some April Fool’s Day fun with the Web, rolling out 3D in Street View at the same time. Today, 9 months from the next April Fool’s Day, with an announcement that can filed in the “Huh?” category, Google has reintroduced 3D viewing in Google Books.

“On April 1st we launched a 3D viewing mode on Google Books. We took the feature down on April 2nd in order to focus our efforts on a 4D version,” Google said jokingly today in a blog post. “That effort failed miserably, but I’m happy to announce that we’ve gone back and enabled the 3D version of Google Books for your viewing pleasure via a special URL parameter. To see any book in 3D, just add &edge=3d to the book’s URL (Note: be sure to add this parameter before the # in the URL).”

Back on April Fool’s Day, 3D viewing was accessed from a button within the Google Books app, and now the feature has returned as a URL hack Easter egg. It’s pretty clear Google doesn’t really expect people to read text in 3D – reading is tough enough on the eyes already – but they obviously think it’s fun to leave it in. When viewing in 3D, the text becomes an anaglyphic image and is bent to give the appearance of a rounded book page. Any pair of red-cyan 3D glasses should work, Google says.

While Google is clearly having some fun here, does this bring up a larger question about 3D? Are books a viable market for 3D technology? This writer respectfully disagrees with anyone that says they are, at least until 3D technology improves. Then again, I’m more inclined to listen to an audiobook these days than read a physical book, so perhaps a little glitz and sparkle is what the printed (or digital) page needs.

Follow this link to see an example of 3D viewing in Google Books, and leave us your thoughts on 3D reading in the comments. And if someone has 3D glasses on them, let us know what you think of the Google Books 3D experience.

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