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[5]: The new Microsoft
by lemur2 on Sat 15th Jan 2011 02:36 UTC 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[7]: The new Microsoft
by woegjiub on Sat 15th Jan 2011 03:57 in reply to "RE[6]: The new Microsoft"
woegjiub Member since:
2008-11-25

How rich, exactly do you think Mozilla is?
5M is a lot of money for a company that gets most of its revenue from having google as the default search provider.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[7]: The new Microsoft
by Beta on Sat 15th Jan 2011 12:15 in reply to "RE[6]: The new Microsoft"
Beta Member since:
2005-07-06

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.

Mozilla can’t pay for it, because they cannot licence the codec to all users of their source code.
I’ve seen this comment repeated a bit recently, it’s clear you and many don’t understand how ‘paying for it’ works.

Reply Parent Score: 3

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