Feeds

Google's $124.6m open codec hits Chrome dev build

WebM browser

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Google has added the newly open-sourced VP8 video codec to the latest developer-channel build of its Chrome browser.

The codec is already part of developer builds from Mozilla and Opera, and it was rolled into Chromium, the open source incarnation of Chrome, in late May. But this marks its debut in Chrome itself. Version 6.0.422.0, available in the developer channel here, also includes various bug fixes.

Google acquired the VP8 codec as part of its $124.6 million purchase of video compression outfit On2 Technologies this spring, and last month at its annual developer conference in San Francisco the web giant told the world it had open sourced the codec under a royalty-free license. VP8 has been combined with the Ogg Vorbis audio codec and a subset of the Matroska container format to create a new media standard dubbed WebM.

This is what's included with the latest Chrome developer build. Google offers three Chrome release channels: a stable channel for the official version of the browser, a beta channel, and a developer channel that includes experimental features you won't find in the beta. The new developer build is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Testers are encouraged to leave feedback on the build here.

Meanwhile, Google has open sourced the Chrome RLZ library, used to track the use of Chrome in promotional campaigns without assigning a unique identifier to the user's browser. RLZ is its own project on Google Code, separate from the open source Chromium project that backs Chrome.

RLZ is included with copies of Chrome that are distributed through various promotional programs. This includes promotions run by Google as well as partners such as Sony, which has agreed to OEM the browser. In March, Google dropped its unique identifier from Chrome, and if you download the browser simply by visiting google.com/chrome, it won't include RLZ either.

Though Google has hailed VP8 as open source and royalty-free, the Open Source Institute (OSI) has questioned its open sourceness considering Google's use of an unapproved license, and it appears that the MPEG-LA — an organization that licenses patent portfolio — will challenge VP8's royalty-freeness, pulling together a patent pool to license the codec out from under Mountain View.

Apple and Microsoft are part of an MPEG-LA patent pool that licenses the H.264 video codec, and unlike Opera and Mozilla, neither Apple nor Microsoft has gotten behind VP8. Microsoft has said it doesn't object to IE surfers using the codec, but only as long as they install it themselves, while Apple supremo Steve Jobs has indicated he won't budge from H.264.

The end result is that for the foreseeable future there will be two separate codecs used with the fledgling HTML5 video tag. As part of its effort to move to the world to VP8, Google is already using the codec to encode new videos on YouTube. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Sin COS to tan Windows? Chinese operating system to debut in autumn – report
Development alliance working on desktop, mobe software
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.