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Google toys with plug-in free YouTube

HTML5 rescues browser video

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Google I/O Google has mocked up a version of YouTube built around the HTML5 video tag, playing mini-movies inside a browser sans plug-ins.

Google vice president of engineering Vic Gundotra demonstrated the mock-up during a keynote speech this morning at the company’s Google I/O developer conference in downtown San Francisco. But he stressed there are no definite plans to move YouTube to such an architecture.

"This is an experiment," he told gathered dev heads. "We are not announcing today that YouTube will be built this way. But we wanted to show it to you to get your creative juices flowing."

Browsing his not-YouTube page, he showed five or six videos or video thumbnails playing simultaneously inside his Chrome browser. "Thanks to the [HTML5] video tag, videos play right in the browser and they're intrinsic to the HTML page. If you mouse over them, they just play. Those are not ... six plug-ins. I'm not marshaling across boundaries. It's just JavaScript and video tags and that's it."

Gundotra used his morning keynote as an opportunity to evangelize HTML5, urging the gathered developers to embrace the still-gestating markup language as soon as possible. Gundotra complained that web developers took years to automatically update webpages via XMLHttpRequest (XHR) and urged them to "not make the same mistake again."

"Recognize that having the underlying capability in the browser is not enough," he told his audience. "It's up to you and companies like Google to build compelling apps that build on these capabilities."

Naturally, Gundotra showed off Google’s first mainstream HTML5 app: its "offline" version of Gmail for Android-based phones and Apple iPhones. And he asked his Google minions to demo the company's new O3D API for 3D graphics inside the browser.

The Google VP joined the Mountain View outfit after a long stint at Microsoft, and he couldn’t help but take a swipe at his former employer. Gundotra kept running to a graphic that detailed HTML5 support within what he called "modern browsers." Internet Explorer wasn’t on the list.

"You can imagine how excited we were to hear Microsoft's public statement about their commitment to the HTML5 standard," he said. "And we eagerly await actually seeing evidence of that."

Cue developer guffaws. ®

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