The recent release of Chrome 9 includes a built-in module for WebGL. The result is quite impressive! Have a look at these few examples (you need either Chrome 9 or a nightly build of Firefox or Safari):
Shortly, WebGL is the web version of OpenGL and provides the following features:
- Everything runs in the browser with plain text scripts (no compilation necessary)
- Each graphic is rendered in an HTML5 canvas (seamless integration in the HTML page)
WebGL will obviously brings a new dimension to the web, but the fact that the GPU can be very simply controlled and programmed makes it possible to deploy almost any kind of computer intensive application simply via the web browser. I would not be surprised to see the next SETI@Home based on WebGL. A massively distributed effort to compute e.g. factorization of large numbers would be an interesting project.