Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 14th Jan 2011 22:33 UTC
Google I didn't plan on this, but there's really nothing I can do. Unless you want me to write about the upcoming ten billionth download from the iOS App Store, you'll have to settle for this. On the Chromium blog, Google has clarified its decision to drop H.264 support from the Chrome web browser, and in it, Google basically repeats the things that those concerned about the future of video on the web have been saying for a long time now: H.264 on the web kills innovation.
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RE[4]: The new Microsoft
by robco on Sat 15th Jan 2011 01:53 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: The new Microsoft"
robco
Member since:
2006-07-16

I'm not sure why Apple is getting dragged into this. So far the only mention is Steve Jobs expressing concern about potential patent issues. Actually, Apple has stood up to MPEG on behalf of users (the delay of QT 6 a few years back). They have no problem paying the license fee.

So far WebM is full of promise, but is it ready for prime time? What is Google's time frame for switching over? So far we've hard of hardware acceleration, but it hasn't shipped yet. Until that happens, Apple won't touch it.

Putting on my evil capitalist hat, why should we have the expectation that everything should be free? If I want to open a retail store, I have to pay for the inventory to stock the store. Even if I make everything myself, I have to pay for the materials to make my wares. If I'm starting a video website, why should I expect everything to cost nothing?

It seems every time a new technology comes out, especially an open one, techies scream if Apple and MS don't support it right away. If WebM takes off, Apple will probably support it. It's not as if they don't ship with support for other FOSS software. But in the here and now, does it really make sense for Apple to jump on board this very minute without knowing if it will be a viable alternative to H.264? Why spend the time and money if it's just going to flop?

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[5]: The new Microsoft
by lemur2 on Sat 15th Jan 2011 02:36 in reply to "RE[4]: The new Microsoft"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I'm not sure why Apple is getting dragged into this. So far the only mention is Steve Jobs expressing concern about potential patent issues. Actually, Apple has stood up to MPEG on behalf of users (the delay of QT 6 a few years back). They have no problem paying the license fee.

So far WebM is full of promise, but is it ready for prime time? What is Google's time frame for switching over? So far we've hard of hardware acceleration, but it hasn't shipped yet. Until that happens, Apple won't touch it.

Putting on my evil capitalist hat, why should we have the expectation that everything should be free? If I want to open a retail store, I have to pay for the inventory to stock the store. Even if I make everything myself, I have to pay for the materials to make my wares. If I'm starting a video website, why should I expect everything to cost nothing?

It seems every time a new technology comes out, especially an open one, techies scream if Apple and MS don't support it right away. If WebM takes off, Apple will probably support it. It's not as if they don't ship with support for other FOSS software. But in the here and now, does it really make sense for Apple to jump on board this very minute without knowing if it will be a viable alternative to H.264? Why spend the time and money if it's just going to flop?


Firefox4, Opera and Chrome already support WebM. Google have already converted over 80% of YouTube videos to WebM. WebM is cost-free to everybody for providing video on the web. For a software vendor like Mozilla, supporting WebM and not H.264 is a cost saving of $5 million per year, and it is also the only way Mozilla can ship a capability for playing video embedded within their open source applications.

Hardware acceleration for WebM decoding has indeed started to ship recently.

http://blog.webmproject.org/2010/12/chips-delivers-vp8-hd-video-har...

http://blog.webmproject.org/2011/01/availability-of-webm-vp8-video-...

WebM is supported in more browsers (Opera, Firefox4 and Chrome) out of the box than h.264.

Although they haven't announced it yet, no doubt Google are planning for YouTube to switch over to WebM only after a transition period.

WebM isn't going to flop.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[6]: The new Microsoft
by Lennie on Sat 15th Jan 2011 02:51 in reply to "RE[5]: The new Microsoft"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

First of all, Mozilla could pay for it. But they don't want to, they are all about no compromises the open web and they want to make sure the open source project stays open and can be easily applied/adapted for other projects.

Second, Google will not switch Youtube over to WebM, they will just change their design to use the video-tag with 2 codecs and failover to flash.

Atleast at first. :-)

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[6]: The new Microsoft
by robco on Sat 15th Jan 2011 03:27 in reply to "RE[5]: The new Microsoft"
robco Member since:
2006-07-16

I'm not questioning the switchover, only Google hasn't really done it very elegantly. To bring Apple back into this, when they announced the change to Intel processors, they did it at WWDC, they had several sessions on moving over, there was a developer build and boxes available, XCode was ready to go. Seven months later when the first Intel Macs shipped, quite a bit of software was ready on Day 1 or shortly thereafter (with a few notable exceptions).

Google hasn't given a time frame. They haven't made easily installable tools (for ordinary users, not linux nerds) for Mac and Windows to let people encode their home movies into WebM. Or commercial content developers for that matter. Hardware acceleration is just now coming out and isn't out for most major platforms.

Rather than a coordinated release with a clear timeline and making good tools readily available, they've given a nebulous timeline, few tools and without hardware acceleration. They could have addressed many of the concerns raised by this change beforehand. Google does some brilliant software engineering, but their "soft skills" are sorely lacking. I'm not saying WebM is a bad thing or bad technology, but they could have done more to make this a smooth, successful transition.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[5]: The new Microsoft
by Rehdon on Sat 15th Jan 2011 08:54 in reply to "RE[4]: The new Microsoft"
Rehdon Member since:
2005-07-06

Putting on my evil capitalist hat, why should we have the expectation that everything should be free?

Not "everything": the technologies that are the foundation for a free Web/Internet. H.264 is by definition unsuitable because it's not royalty free: what if you had to pay to load every HTML page? That's exactly what might happen in 2015, as the masters of H.264 might ask money both for encoding and decoding of video streams.

It seems every time a new technology comes out, especially an open one, techies scream if Apple and MS don't support it right away.

If the new technology is fundamental for the inner working and evolution of a free Web/Internet, they're surely right to do so, and I'll join the choir.

Rehdon

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[6]: The new Microsoft
by robco on Sat 15th Jan 2011 11:51 in reply to "RE[5]: The new Microsoft"
robco Member since:
2006-07-16

Not "everything": the technologies that are the foundation for a free Web/Internet. H.264 is by definition unsuitable because it's not royalty free: what if you had to pay to load every HTML page? That's exactly what might happen in 2015, as the masters of H.264 might ask money both for encoding and decoding of video streams.
That's a lot of maybe, might and what if. WRT Apple, they stood up to MPEG when they tried that before and Apple very publicly called them out on it. Back in the day, if you wanted a web browser, you paid for it. Who would charge for a browser? A little company called Netscape.

Undoubtedly this will somehow translate into big money for Google. I can guarantee they're not doing this out of the kindness of their hearts. But other people need to eat too.

If the new technology is fundamental for the inner working and evolution of a free Web/Internet, they're surely right to do so, and I'll join the choir.
This is delivering video to end users, not the inner workings of the web. You can publish all the images and text you want and not pay a dime.

But the proverbial ink is barely dry on the Google press release. Google refuses to indemnify against patent challenges. If you decide to use this technology and are sued, you'll get no help from Google. You only have their opinion (hardly subjective) that WebM doesn't violate any patents. Some may be willing to take that risk, others won't. Why is it reasonable to assume that Apple and MS will suddenly drop everything and commit resources to supporting a new, unproven technology when hardware support is just now beginning to materialize? We may very well see versions of iMovie and FCS that support WebM encoding and a future version of Safari may support decoding. But that's not going to happen tomorrow or next month and it's not reasonable to expect that it would. We also won't hear about it until it happens.

It's going to take time for other companies to figure out how this impacts them, their product development and release cycles and business plans. You can't expect any business to suddenly revamp their scheduling, planning and production to accommodate the latest next best thing. This is why it's not helpful that Google hasn't really given a time frame for implementing this change. They could have done, and still could do, much more to ensure a timely and smooth transition. Not the least of which would be ponying up and offering to cover any potential legal issues, ensuring decoders are available on all consumer platforms (not just their own) and working with other companies to ensure that happens, and making good encoding software readily available to content producers before they flip the switch.

You can't run a business, any business, where you have to change everything because another company, no matter how large and popular they are, got a bug up their ass about some new thing. I'm not saying WebM is a bad idea and that it shouldn't get support, only that it's not reasonable to expect everyone to just jump on the bandwagon immediately. This isn't going to happen overnight.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[5]: The new Microsoft
by JAlexoid on Sun 16th Jan 2011 22:35 in reply to "RE[4]: The new Microsoft"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Putting on my evil capitalist hat, why should we have the expectation that everything should be free?

<capitalist>
We don't. Just "some people" are complaining, that Google is cutting some of their development costs. You know, HTML5 video tag has no DRM and probably less than 5% reach. They are, if nothing else, cutting costs.

Edited 2011-01-16 22:35 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2