Google hits 'fast forward' button on WebM codec love for YouTube
Can I get a rewind?
Google is transcoding all freshly uploaded videos into the WebM format on its popular YouTube website, and it wants the world to know about it.
The company, which has been slotting the codec into YouTube in recent months, reaffirmed the move in a blog post yesterday.
Google's back catalogue of most heavily viewed videos (about 30 per cent of its data so far) is being transcoded into WebM, which is supported by Google's Chrome browser, Mozilla's Firefox, and Opera Software's Opera.
The Chrome browser initially offered the royalty-saddled H.264 favoured by rivals Apple and Microsoft, but it was dropped by Google last month in the hopes of speeding up the adoption of WebM online.
However, the addition of the WebM format in YouTube doesn't mean Google has altogether backed out of support for the H.264 codec on its video-sharing site, well, for now at least. It does plan to ditch it at a later stage, however.
Last year, Google open-sourced the VP8 codec under a royalty-free licence, in a move to create a completely free and open standard for HTML5 web video.
At the same time, Mountain View rolled the codec into a new web media format dubbed WebM.
"In keeping with our goal of making videos universally accessible, we will continue to support H.264 as an important codec for video on YouTube. We are also committed to continuing to develop our HTML5 video player that we announced last year," said Google. ®
Update: This story has been updated to clarify some points about when the WebM format debuted.
Internet Explorer and Safari users are now second class web citizens
really, have you seen the shit on Youtube?
Many would think it's a bonus not to be able to view that crap!
So HTML5, the standard that would save the web from plug-ins, is now forked and content owners have to decide either to duplicate their encoding/storage costs or alienate a segment of their audience.
H.264 playback (ie the bit that browser vendors and end users care about) isn't "royalty encumbered" ... professional encoding is, so this is really about youTube wanting to reduce that cost and being disingenious about it
IE9/10 have already confirmed it will support WebM if the user has the codec installed (eg via the Google plugin http://tools.google.com/dlpage/webmmf), and Microsoft have released plug-ins to allow Chrome and Firefox to play back H.264 - http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2011/02/microsoft-offers-h264-plugin-for-chrome-queries-google-on-webm.ars
this is all about posturing and throwing weight around no matter how Google want's to spin it
Of course <video> is pretty flawed at the moment anyway - lacking DRM or adaptive streaming (fMPEG4, MPEG-DASH, IIS Smooth Streaming or Apple HLS) and even the event/properties model implementation on different browsers isn't consistent so we've a long way to go before this battle is settled and users can just watch funny monkey videos without having to think about what format/plug-in they need
How are they second class?
If only 30% of the videos has been transcoded to WebM?
Plus they didn't say they'd stop supporting H.264. Given the video player is in the browser it's not like Google can add more features to player for their format.
They can't even use HD until WebM gets hardware acceleration.
This is just more smelly hot air from Google.