Google Reveals Plan to Only Support Open Video Formats in Chrome

Mike Melanson at ReadWriteWeb, among others, has this latest development with regard to video standards on the web. With the adoption of the video tag into HTML5 minus a default codec, the question has largely been left to browser makers to decide via their share of users. Apple has of course been backing H.264 in which it has considerable stakes invested. Mozilla has maintained a commitment to open and unencumbered standards, supporting Ogg Theora and then WebM, the format and codec that Google freed, but not H.264.

Up until now, Google had been playing Switzerland supporting both open and proprietary codecs in Chrome. Melanson quotes a Google blog post explaining their change of heart to focus exclusively on open formats and codecs.

We expect even more rapid innovation in the web media platform in the coming year and are focusing our investments in those technologies that are developed and licensed based on open web principles. To that end, we are changing Chrome’s HTML5 <video> support to make it consistent with the codecs already supported by the open Chromium project. Specifically, we are supporting the WebM (VP8) and Theora video codecs, and will consider adding support for other high-quality open codecs in the future. Though H.264 plays an important role in video, as our goal is to enable open innovation, support for the codec will be removed and our resources directed towards completely open codec technologies.

The blog post also credits the openness of WebM for its rapid improvement and adoption since its first availability. That may be a relatively fair assessment but Google’s backing no doubt had a lot to do with it, too. By comparison Ogg Theora has developed at a slower pace with much shallower adoption. I think the unencumbered nature of WebM makes it attractive to partners who otherwise might feel they are giving up too much control to Google while the backing of the search giant attracts those more interest in support and maybe a hope of indemnity if anyone ever makes good on submarine patent claims. It is nice they are crediting the open nature of the technology but it isn’t the whole picture.

More staunch critics of Google’s motives are already pointing to continuing support for Flash, asking why the commitment to open technologies doesn’t extend to dropping Adobe’s plugin. I am simply happy that Google is acting to shift the balance in one instance even if other questions are unanswered. It will be a few months before this change percolates from Chromium, the open source branch, into the more consumer facing Chrome anyway. We’ll need more time beyond that to see if the move to drop H.264 support has any noticeable effect on video producers and sites for distribution. *cough* YouTube *cough*

Google Says It’s Open or Not At All for Video on Chrome, ReadWriteWeb

Quick Security Alerts for the Week Ending 10/24/2010

feeds | grep links > Rare Earth Minerals May Become Rarer, 3D Acceleration Coming to DOSBox, and More

  • China halting rare earth mineral shipments to the US
    Slashdot links to a cluser of stories around China’s trade decision against the US, following a similar decision regarding exporting these critical minerals to Japan. A bit of recent listener feedback has me mulling over post-abundance computing, this seems to be suggestive of future concerns. Like news of limited recycling of these materials, I also wonder at the positive possibility of making the production of electronics more environmentally responsible and durable.
  • DOSBox to get emulated 3D accelerator card
    I used DOSBox to get an old game I still had on CD-ROM working a couple of years ago. Slashdot has news of the developers looking to add a “complete and faithful” emulation of the core chipset of the old 3dfx Voodoo Graphics card. I had one of those and it figures into some very fond memories of LAN parties back in the madness of the height of the dot-com bubble back in the nineties.
  • Bendable memory from nanowire transistors , Technology Review
  • Feds forced to admit it is legal to photograph federal buildings, BoingBoing
  • Google rolls out Chrome 7, Slashdot

feeds | grep links > Chrome Loses Pirvacy Feature, Google Introduces Image Format, Microsoft Sues Motorola over Android, and More

Quick Security Alerts for the Week Ending 9/19/2010

feeds | grep links > Microsoft Grants License to NGOs, Dell Releases Streak Sources, Register of Copyrights to Retire, And More

Security Alerts for the Week Ending 9/5/2010

feeds | grep links > Open Source Cell Network, Chrome 7 Sports Hardware Accelerated Effects, Gmail Gets a Priority Inbox, and More

Today, the blogging has definitely slowed as I anticipated yesterday. I haven’t started packing for my trip in earnest but later on tonight I will.

Quick Security Alerts for the Week Ending 8/22/2010

feeds | grep links > Chrome Store Opens to Developers, Flash in Java, P2P Users as Innocent Infringers, and More

  • Google opens Chrome app store to developers
    The Register has more details on a move from Google that has been puzzling me. From their description, what “installing” a web app in Chrome will do is allow a traditional web application to customize Chrome’s, er, chrome with its own icon and such as well as getting some higher privileges to access the browser’s resources. I suppose the security implications aren’t very different from other kinds of add ons, many of which already integrate with web services. I do wonder if the lower barrier to entry than a proper extension might make auditing for securing harder just because of increased volume.
  • Java based Flash player
  • Legal analysis of Oracle v. Google
  • SCOTUS told P2P users can be “innocent infringers”