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'The 3D Flickr' is go

French to take MS Virtual Earth into another dimension

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French firm Dassault Systemes today launched a site for sharing three-dimensional models that it hopes will become "the 3D Flickr".

"3D must be used by all and for all," boss Bernard Charles told Reuters.

3dvia.com indeed has the typical photo-sharing look and functionality, but the content is less jpegs of cats and the iPhone, and more 3DXML models of Lara Croft and the iPhone. If it becomes anywhere near as popular as Flickr that's going to be a hell of a hosting bill, n'est-ce pas?

The firm's modelling expertise, which is called on by the likes of Toyota and Boeing, will also be tapped by Microsoft as it bids to take on Google's Earth's satellite supremacy with Virtual Earth. Microsoft will ask users of its package to flesh out the environment by creating 3D models using Dassault's software.

Google Earth already lets amateurs contribute through its noddy 3D modelling suite SketchUp.®

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