YouTube Now Saves All Videos in WebM

Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb has excellent news in the struggle for open standards based video on the web. Google will now save all videos uploaded to its YouTube sharing services in WebM, the format it released as open source and unencumbered by patent royalties last year.

YouTube is announcing this afternoon that all videos uploaded to the site are now saved in WebM format, as well as other supported formats including Adobe Flash. 30% of the YouTube archives, making up 99% of the views, is now available in WebM as well and the full archives are being put in the new format as we speak.

Kirkpatrick also explains how the format has been progressing to address some of the technical criticisms around its quality and performance. It should only be a matter of time before both Chrome and Firefox pick up these changes as both now support rolling release models rather than infequent, monolithic updates.

I am glad to see Google shift direction after its initial reluctance to use the open codec as the default for YouTube. Such deep support from one of, if not the most, popular video sites on the web may prove a watershed in the adoption of WebM as a de facto standard for online video. I don’t expect the MPEG-LA to take this lightly.

YouTube Now Saves All Videos in Open Format WebM, ReadWriteWeb

WebM Powered Semantic Video Demo

From the WebM project blog[1], a link to a JavaScript and WebM powered demo on what is possible with open video when it also carries rich metadata. It is actually just a taste of a larger project, Web Made Movies[2], looking to really push what is possible with open video and the latest generation of web technologies. The JavaScript library, Popcorn.js[3], that made it possible is downloadable though I cannot find an explicit license to figure out what obligations, if any, you incur by forking (as the github page openly invites everyone to do) and making changes.

I had to reload the demo once or twice to get the features to work, once they did, wow. It is a little overwhelming but an effective demo. I used the latest beta of Firefox 4.

The video in question is well worth watching in its own right. It and Web Made Videos a project made under the auspices of Mozilla’s Drumbeat initiative. Drumbeat specifically aims to pull in all kinds of people, not just techies, to build on and highlight what is possible with the open standards of the web. The film maker responsible for the demo page is Brett Gaylor, one of my favorites for his “RIP: A Remix Manifesto” documentary.


1. WebM Semantic Video Demo, WebM project blog
2. Web Made Movies
3. Mozilla’s Popcorn.js, Github

Following Up for the Week Ending 7/4/2010

feeds | grep links > Future Firefox Will Sync, Canadian Copyright Provably Pushed by US, Fonts with Feelings, an Open WebM Converter, and France Considers Outlawing Anonymous Blogging

  • Firefox Sync to be built into future version of the browser
    I want to say I had read this suggestion before though I cannot find evidence of commenting on it previously. Ryan Paul has some details of a move that makes good sense given comparable features included or closely bundled with competing browsers.
  • Canadian copyright firstly motivated by satisfying the US
    Many have suspected that efforts like C-60 and C-61 were politically motivated, bowing to pressure from the US. Professor Geist links to a paper with some analysis that bears out this interpretation, including some quotes that make the prime motivation starkly clear.
  • Microsoft patents fonts with feelings
    I am at a loss for words or understanding of this patent that Slashdot explains. First, how is this even patentable? Are the animations described automated in some way, using natural language processing to associate some stock animations to words based on their meaning and context? Second and more importantly, who the hell would actually use technology like this? It would be like having Clippy assaulting every paragraph you push through the silly thing producing text/sprite hybrids that would constantly induce eye bleeding.
  • Miro releases converter to help make WebM video
    Cory at Boing Boing has the news, that of a bit of software from the fine folks who make the wonderful Miro player. Now we have Miro’s converter alongside the recent VLC release candidate. The standard appears to be taking off fast from a technology stand point. It should make whatever comes out of the patent rumblings all the more interesting if it ever comes to a head.
  • French senator proposes outlawing anonymous blogging
    Mike Masnick at Techdirt has the story, though there is not much more to it than the headline. I don’t know how strong free speech traditionally is in France but the stated reasons, ease of suing, seem a rather poor argument against the inherent value of being able to speak anonymously.