Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 28th Aug 2013 15:43 UTC

Noticed any differences when using Google's Hangouts video chat lately? If you did, then you may be one of the lucky users who has already received an upgrade to 720p HD video. The company quietly started to roll out HD for Hangouts to a subset of its users in the last few weeks and hopes to complete the rollout soon. But the change isn't just a quality upgrade - it's part of a bigger move towards open standards that will eventually bring us video chat in the browser without the need for any plugins.

To enable HD, and prepare for this plugin-free future, Google quietly started to transition Hangouts from the H.264 video codec to VP8, an open and royalty-free video codec the company released back in 2010. Google's Vice President of Engineering Chee Chew told me during a recent interview that the switchover from H.264 to VP8 should be more or less invisible to consumers, with some possibly noticing a little less choppiness. "It will be cleaner, better video," Chew said.

Good move.

On a related note, whatever happened to Apple's promise to make FaceTime an open standard?

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Does this include Android?
by FunkyELF on Wed 28th Aug 2013 17:51 UTC
Member since:

From my experience using a Nexus 7 and a Nexus 4 for doing Google+ Hangouts the video has been terrible compared to Apple's FaceTime.

Don't know if this is due to the cameras in use or the software but the audio / video on FaceTime always looks better.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Does this include Android?
by Lennie on Thu 29th Aug 2013 12:27 in reply to "Does this include Android?"
Lennie Member since:

This could have many reasons.

First of all Apple controls all parts of the stack, this always makes it easier to get something on the market.

Second, WebRTC is trying to create a standard, which takes time and effort.

WebRTC is still new and your call might have used VP8 without hardware acceleration. Who knows.

I hear recent Nexus devices have hardware encoders and decoders for VP8.

Reply Parent Score: 2