Despite ongoing economic uncertainty, companies still see the Web as the platform of the future.
The Web 2.0 Summit opened in San Francisco on Tuesday afternoon amid talk of destruction and rebirth.
The destruction -- the financial crisis that tested companies and individuals around the globe over the past year -- appears to be waning.
Following Google's strong Q3 earnings last week, CEO Eric Schmidt declared the worst of the recession has passed.
Apple's unexpectedly strong earnings report on Monday appears to support that view.
The rebirth is just getting underway, as companies try to recover lost momentum and to adjust to new realities. For many of the Web-centric companies featured at the Summit, that means finding new ways to connect the Web to the world, to better address business and social needs through technology.
Hence, the theme of the Web 2.0 Summit this year is "the Web Squared," the Web as platform for change and innovation.
That's precisely how graphics chip maker NVIDIA is using the Web.
As the Web 2.0 Summit opened, NVIDIA demonstrated its RealityServer, a cloud-based 3D rendering system that offers companies the hardware and infrastructure to deliver rapidly rendered photo-realistic images from the cloud to any client device.
Potential applications span a large range of industries, including architectural design, home design, product design, engineering and manufacturing, maintenance and training, and online entertainment, to name a few.
Dan Vivoli, SVP at Nvidia, described RealityServer as a major technical evolution of the Web.
Shehryar Khan, CEO of iPhone development company Ubermind, demonstrated how NVIDIA's graphics technology powers his company's virtual car customization application, providing interactive 3D vehicles rendered in the cloud for display on customers' iPhones.
Being able to do the rendering in the cloud rather than on client devices, Vivoli said was a real-breakthrough.
As the Web 2.0 Summit continues over the next three days, other companies will be making their case as agents of change.
Featured speakers include Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, Intel CEO Paul Otellini, World Wide Web Consortium director Tim Berners-Lee, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, GE CEO Jeff Immelt, and Microsoft online services division president Qi Lu, among others.
Some of the topics to be covered include the case for antitrust enforcement, the future of journalism, online gaming, search, social networks, the mobile Web, green computing, and the future of content.
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