What minimum system requirements?

November 1, 2011 in Internet

A few weeks ago, I complained that Google Maps' new WebGL version was being artificially -- and unnecessarily -- restricted to high-end machines, creating a sort of "minimum system requirements" for the web. Therefore, I was very interested to see that Nokia's competing maps product, Maps 3D, has just released its own WebGL product.

Unlike Google Maps, it doesn't have a hardware lockout (that I'm aware of). It does have a software requirement, however. Currently, and somewhat ironically, it only runs in Google's Chrome browser.

Nokia's product provides a full 3D map, not unlike Google's Earth plugin. I can rapidly call up a full reconstruction of Manhattan in which even the individual trees in Central Park have been modeled with some fidelity. By contrast, Google's current WebGL product only provides vectorized (non-3D) maps, with realtime vector shadows as the "crown jewel." I stand firmly by my claim that Google's hardware throttling is completely arbitrary.

Nokia could use a win -- maybe this will help. Try it out here (and let me know if you see any hardware restrictions).

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