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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Getting rid of plugins
by 0brad0 on Wed 28th Aug 2013 18:43 UTC
Member since:

Thank god for the move towards WebRTC. Getting rid of the use of god awful show stopper plugins so the service is available to a much wider audience is a good move.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Getting rid of plugins
by Vanders on Wed 28th Aug 2013 21:17 in reply to "Getting rid of plugins"
Vanders Member since:

Yup. I could never get the Hangout plugin to work from my office, even in Chrome. Apparently the plugin and the corporate firewall disagreed on the details. Moving towards WebRTC is a good thing, although I'm sure someone will be along soon to tell me how "evil" they are for doing it, or something.

Reply Parent Score: 5