updated 12:50 pm EST, Thu March 3, 2011
WebGL spec final with Apple, Google, Mozilla, more
It's potentially more advanced than a plugin since it can merge regular web code with 3D to create apps that wouldn't work in a mostly fenced-off environment such as Flash.
The approach is already in use in the stable versions of Chrome 9 and is in beta or nightly versions of Apple's Safari, Mozilla's Firefox 4 and Opera. Microsoft is so far the only holdout and has been pushing its proprietary DirectX acceleration in Internet Explorer 9.
The working group is still in the formative stages and is seeing requests for contributing companies, but it's likely to have Apple's backing. Apple was a key architect of OpenCL and has the only mainstream OS with the feature. WebCL could give the iPhone and iPad better performance on hardware that supports it. The PowerVR SGX543 believed to be in the iPad 2, and eventually the iPhone 5, should have some OpenCL support and might convert quickly to WebCL if iOS gets support.