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( -- On April 1, Google announced the launch of Google Chrome with 3D. The next day, the Google blog announced (for those who didn't catch on) that it was an April Fool's joke. But still, for the brief time the effect was available on Google Chrome, it was pretty cool.

Since I have a Mac, I can't take advantage of Google on my computer (but as soon as it is available for Mac, I plan to give it the old college try). But I can go elsewhere and try it out -- and that's just what I did. It's lucky most of the people I know are PC people. With a little help from a handy toggle button on the browser window, it was possible to get a reasonably believable effect of 3D. Here is what the designer of the effect said about it on the Google Chrome Blog:

"This elaborate scheme, conceived deep within the bowels of the Googleplex and executed at enormous expense, was to make a fake but believable 3D effect that could be toggled by a new button on the toolbar. ... I decided to do a simple shift of the red and blue channels of the image of the web page after it was rendered. This was easier than doing other suggestions like shifting only the images or creating a non-uniformly shifted image."

The shift allowed Chrome users to play with an effect that looked like 3D. My favorite part of the joke, however, was the clever page describing the steps to take when accessing Google Chrome with 3D. The page illustrates how you can print out 3D glasses, use the button to switch the appearance and then enjoy. There is even a technical description with fancy words like "anaglyph".

Google always puts together an elaborate joke for April Fool's Day, and I think that this years was the best yet.

© 2009