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How to Enable WebGL on Google Chrome

Posted on October 26, 2009, 11:53 pm EST

This month, WebGL has been released in its pre-state in Firefox, Safari, and Chromium. WebGL is a cool way to display 3D content in the Web using OpenGL.


It has been almost a year since we released WebGL, to enable that in Chrome / Chromium, you just need the command line argument:


chrome.exe   --enable-webgl

Linux / Mac:

./chrome --enable-webgl

To edit it permanently, edit your shortcut properties by right clicking on the Chrome shortcut and choosing 'Properties', and append the command line argument above (--enable-webgl) within the target.

What is WebGL

WebGL is a JavaScript binding to OpenGL ES 2.0 for 3D Web Graphics without installing any web plugins. The Khronos Group (the creators/maintainers of OpenGL standard) working group includes many industry leaders such as Google, Mozilla, NVIDIA, Opera, AMD, etc to work on standardizing WebGL. The press release can be read here. WebGL is currently still in development, if you want to keep track of its status, you can star this issue:

But how is it different than Google's O3D?

Update: O3D decided to concentrate making HTML5 WebGL faster and better. O3D is now an open-source web API for creating rich, interactive 3D applications in the browser.

The main reason is that WebGL is still very slow, O3D is a plugin which is native. There is an interesting thread going on and some Googlers from the O3D team discussed the differences:

O3D is not going away. WebGL is a very cool initiative but it has
a lot of hurdles to overcome. The direction of WebGL is trying to
just expose straight OpenGL ES 2.0 calls to JavaScript. 

JavaScript is still slow in the large scheme of things. Maybe at 
sometime in the future WebGL will have added enough features over
basic OpenGL to be more powerful or JavaScript  will have gotten 
a few orders of magnitude faster but at the moment…

The WebGL team at Google and the O3D team are currently the same
team. We have every interest in seeing both WebGL and O3D succeed.

Read Original Source ...

How to enable WebGL on Google Chrome / Chromium?

Make sure you are in the dev channel. Google Chrome releases updates to different release channels. Currently, there are three channels; Stable (everyone is on this when the first install Google Chrome), Beta (every month or so, you will get an update), and Dev (the developer preview channel where stuff gets tested, like WebGL). In order to use WebGL at this current time, you would need the "Beta/Dev" release channel.

  1. First, subscribe here:
  2. Make sure all other windows are closed.
  3. Install
  4. Now you are subscribed to the Development Channel, yay!

After you have subscribed to the Development channel, you would need to put some command line parameters when you launch Google Chrome.

  1. Right click on your "Chrome" icon.
  2. Choose properties
  3. At the end of your target line, place these parameters:
    • --enable-webgl
  4. It should look like: "chrome.exe --enable-webgl"

Now you have WebGL installed! Lets look at a cool example! This example of Escher Droste effect, where one image, rotated, thinking its zooming in forever. So cool! Take a look here:

Have fun WebGL'n!

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