The 3D Web is in fact commencing - AS WE POST
However, 3-D search engines have begun to emerge as improvements in computing power and interactive modeling software have deepened the pool of designs available to query -- not only in industrial settings but also in highly detailed online virtual worlds. Boeing Co. engineers invented their own 3-D search engine a few years ago as part of an effort to reuse more parts.
Princeton University professor Thomas Funkhouser and colleagues have put a 3-D search engine on the Web that lets anyone sketch an object using a computer mouse, add a textual description, then search for similar models in design databases.
The results can be startling. Draw a big potato, and the system responds with a bunch of, well, potato-looking objects -- and a few urns. Those seem wrong until you rotate your potato, orienting it vertically instead of horizontally, and see your sketch actually does resemble an urn, narrow on top and bottom and bulging in the middle.