If you've seen the code required to display even a simple shaded sphere, it's easy to see O3D is unsuitable for mass market content creation. Layers built over the API can do that and certainly some will give it a shot, but until the tools arrive, content will be hand built and more expensive than even in the mid-90s.
Look at the Vivaty plugin running the scene on this page. 3D On the Web Cheap is alive and well because the small start-ups ran with it and made it possible. Drag Drop and Go builder toolkits are simple, reliable, and well thought through. I can do it in Vivaty using X3D and Metaplace using Flash. I can build fast and get past the 3D animation and into the products I actually want to display. In other words, the 3D is just a wrapper around the valuable content in that Vivaty room.
1. What feature of O3D makes it innovative or differentiates it from the wealth of 3D plugins already available?
2. Is there any reason other than the source, Google which failed publicly and spectacularly with Lively, to present this as a "web3D standard" candidate when the Google developers have no experience with developing standards for 3D on the web and have yet to demonstrate how a standard based on their experiments would unify 3D web products or markets? We have the X3D standard, we have the Collada specifications, and we have first class browsers to support them with years of development experience. On the other side, we have a handful of developers, an IP-encumbered lump of code and the Google brand.
Honestly, this announcement is very old school from a time when all it took was a lump fo running code to jump start a standard. I do believe the business professionals have come to understand the meaninglessness of such announcements and have come to rely on the survivability and contract-based control of the standard (see participation agreements) as the basis for accepting that such are genuine candidates.
Google is devolving into Microsoft fast. There was an honest above board way to go about this project and instead, they retreated inside and decided to wage war for profit. Very old school. It appears that Google's ability to scale the learning curve is dramatically foreshortening. Google needs to have a serious insider chat to determine where innovation starts and when they are just reinventing the wheel to scratch the itch of their developers with too much financial security and little else to show for egoboo.