Google Removes H.264 Codec From Chrome

This is an excerpt from my commentary, “Welcome to the Two-Codec World,” which you can read at StreamingMedia.com.

Back when Google closed on the On2 acquisition, I wrote a blog post entitled Google Closes On2 AcquisitionBetter check your Wallet. The wallet reference related to the fact that Google donating VP8 to the open source cause could boost the encoding-related costs of all serious streaming producers. Well, Google has open sourced VP8 and just announced that they will remove H.264 playback from future versions of Chrome, so we’re well on the way towards that two codec world.

Here’s the relevant quote from the Google blog.

Specifically, we are supporting the WebM (VP8) and Theora video codecs, and will consider adding support for other high-quality open codecs in the future. Though H.264 plays an important role in video, as our goal is to enable open innovation, support for the codec will be removed and our resources directed towards completely open codec technologies.

For the rest of the article, click here to jump over to StreamingMedia.com. The article concludes.

I also know that whatever leverage Google uses, they still haven’t created any positive reason to distribute video in WebM format. They haven’t created any new revenue opportunities, opened any new markets or increased the size of the pie. They’ve just made it more expensive to get your share, all in the highly ethereal pursuit of “open codec technologies.” So, if you do check your wallet, sometime soon, you’ll start to see less money in it, courtesy of Google. 

Yeah, I think WebM is a bad idea. Click here to read the rest of the article.

About Jan Ozer

I help companies train new technical hires in streaming media-related positions; I also help companies optimize their codec selections and encoding stacks, and evaluate new encoders and codecs.

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