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Print 51 comment(s) - last by The Raven.. on Jan 14 at 5:54 PM


Chrome will no longer support h.264 video, leaving Microsoft and Apple as the only players who support the proprietary codec.
Says it will only support open and free codecs

In a surprising move, Google has abandoned support for the h.264 video codec, used (among other codecs) to power HTML5 video in its Chrome browser.  The company writes [blog]:

We expect even more rapid innovation in the web media platform in the coming year and are focusing our investments in those technologies that are developed and licensed based on open web principles. To that end, we are changing Chrome’s HTML5 support to make it consistent with the codecs already supported by the open Chromium project. 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. 

The move is extremely significant as it leaves Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 (test builds) and Apple's Safari 5 as the only browsers on the market that support the codec.

The debate over what codec should be used for HTML5 web video has been a contentious one and a partisan debate among browser makers who ultimately have to make the choice for their customers.

The group that licenses h.264, which Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs notably holds stock in, recently came out promising not to charge consumers or web developers to use its video standard for free web video.  It does still plan to charge for paid video or internal websites.  Advocates, though, argue that h.264 offers the best video quality.

Critics oppose the fact that h.264 is proprietary and not always free.  They tend to support either Ogg Theora or WebM.  

Theora is supported by Firefox, Opera, and Google Chrome, with Mozilla being its biggest advocate.  However, Apple has raised an interesting argument against Theora, claiming that unknown “phantom” patents may exist that could result in lawsuits against browser-makers and web developers if the codec became broadly used.  They claim these patent holders may merely be lying in wait, watching for the ideal time to strike.

The final alternative is WebM.  Whereas Theora is based on an open-source release of On2 Technologies’ older V3 codec (proprietary), WebM is an open-source release based on the newer V8 codec.  VP8/WebM is supported by Opera, Google Chrome, and Firefox.

The loss of Google shifts the balance of power in favor of both Theora and VP8/WebM – but with Microsoft supporting h.264, the proprietary codec is still very much in the game.  The web video mess seems unlikely to sort itself out anytime soon.  That's unhappy news for web developers who have to encode video for all three formats, and put additional HTML tags anywhere there's video.



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The cupped hand flexes
By Tony Swash on 1/12/2011 9:27:02 AM , Rating: -1
Its amusing to watch.

Google, a company utterly committed to protecting it's one sole source of income which is gathering information on internet users and using that info to sell targeted ads, has convinced many, many naive people that it is somehow a great big cuddly uncle giving out lots of free goodies.

I like Google's free stuff, I use GMail and other free services. Who wouldn't?

Meanwhile slowly but surely the hand gently holding and caressing our balls tightens it's grip. Occasionally, as with this episode with H264 support, that hand flexes and we feel instinctively our vulnerability and the power the hand holding our balls has.

But the free goodies are so nice and Goggle knows how to talk the talk and make us all feel loved and protected in Googles "free and open" grasp.

One day that hand will tighten and as we gasp in pain and remember how much we thought Google was different and how Google was so committed to our "freedoms" we will feel a deep sense of shame and embarrassment.

How could we believe such crap?

How could we let someone get such a firm grasp on our balls?

You tell me.




RE: The cupped hand flexes
By ElementZero on 1/12/2011 9:31:57 AM , Rating: 5
jeez - conspiracy theorist much?


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By Tony Swash on 1/12/2011 10:28:43 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
jeez - conspiracy theorist much?


Not all conspiracy theories are false :)

Tell me - how much of your life does Google own/control/watch?

What happens when Google's interests and yours diverge?


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By JasonMick (blog) on 1/12/2011 10:49:43 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Not all conspiracy theories are false :)

Tell me - how much of your life does Google own/control/watch?

What happens when Google's interests and yours diverge?


Tony, overlooking your homoerotic fantasy about Google, you do raise a good point about its possible motives in promoting WebM/the open VP8 codec.

However, did it ever occur to you that Apple also has its hand "tightly around your balls" as you would put it?

C'mon, you love Apple products, are you totally clueless of Apple's iOS data mining efforts or the iAd platform? They're beating down the exact same path as Google in that regard.

The only difference is that Google is supporting an open standard, open source, patent-free product here, where as Apple is supporting a proprietary codec that its CEO stands to profit off of.

Don't confuse the issue by raising interesting, but irrelevant points and pretending they justify Apple's approach.


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By The Raven on 1/12/2011 11:09:06 AM , Rating: 5
Well said. And if you knwo anything about the open philosophy it would be that WE ALL benefit from the openness. So yes, that includes Google. Who is your technological Mother Teresa, Tony? Steve Jobs?
I'm sure you are familiar with this nonsense.

http://www.apple.com/opensource/

If Apple really believed what it says here, then they wouldn't act in such a proprietary fashion and they would be all over WebM.

And by the way, if I wanted to rid my life of Google I could do it very easily. And I wouldn't have to pay a cent to do it. Rid yourself of Apple/MS? Umm that would take a while. And could be quite costly depending on your needs. Which is why many people don't.


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By nafhan on 1/12/2011 5:31:42 PM , Rating: 2
To add to this...
The only thing a company can really do to OSS once it's out in the wild is make it better. Any attempt to lock it down will just cause the project to fork and negative changes will then be ignored.
If Apple et al decide to lock down h.264 in 2016, a lot of people could be in trouble or at least severely inconvenienced. Google, on the other hand, really can't lock down WebM even at this point.


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By a1trips on 1/13/2011 9:52:37 AM , Rating: 2
well said, again.
While i suffer no delusions regarding data mining practices of Google, Apple needs to be shot .. yesterday.
i would have silently rated up, but that option wasn't available, so kudos


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By tastyratz on 1/12/2011 10:50:33 AM , Rating: 4
What happens? Firefox happens.

Just sucks that 264 support isn't built in because it IS the best and it IS the most widely adopted for overall video content (not just web)

Why not just make chrome support only motion jpeg's or mpeg2 while we are at it?

Html5 is a standard and it's here. Get over it Google, support it, and push your choices independent of supporting standards.
Whats next? png?


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By nafhan on 1/12/2011 1:10:21 PM , Rating: 2
I think h.264 is essentially built in to FF as long as you are using it on a system with h.264 codecs installed (i.e. Win 7 or OSX), as there is no need to install a codec pack or make changes to the software installation in any way. The video tag in HTML5 isn't codec specific. Of course, transparency to the end user isn't really the same as being built in, but to most users it should amount to the same thing. Also worth noting, I think the above may only apply to future versions of FF (v.4 and up).
It'll be interesting to see if Chrome without h.264 "built in" will still play back h.264 encoded video on platforms that already have the codec. I'm guessing that it will.


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By Alexstarfire on 1/13/2011 2:40:15 AM , Rating: 2
HTML5 is hardly a standard yet. H264 might be the best, I really don't know, but in all honesty I don't really care what is the absolute best for steaming through a browser. As long as it's not as bad as flash for playing video, and strictly for playing video mind you, then it's fine. HTML just needs a standard for playing video and audio, period.


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By ElderTech on 1/12/2011 6:29:11 PM , Rating: 2
RE: "Not all conspiracy theories are false :)

Tell me - how much of your life does Google own/control/watch?

What happens when Google's interests and yours diverge?"

NONE! Well, to be honest, I do use their website as my primary search vehicle. But no Gmail, nor any other personal information connected to them.

Frankly, I've always been a fan of AOL, believe it or not, and was one of the original subscribers, back when we had to pay for it. And I'm still with them for email, though it's not my only email provider. The fact that they generate random IP addresses for each connection when using their proprietary software makes protecting my personal info much easier. And I've never had a problem with any loss of personal data, nor marketing intrusion from my association with them all these years. Can't even say that about my association with financial institutions, where some of my personal data was compromised by one of the top 5 US banks.

All in all, for me it's not how restrictive the platform or system is, but how well they protect my privacy and personal information, and still provide the resources I need or want. That's a major problem for me with any cloud based system, and google is no exception.


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By nafhan on 1/12/2011 10:09:55 AM , Rating: 2
What a beautiful analogy.


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By bug77 on 1/12/2011 10:37:06 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
How could we let someone get such a firm grasp on our balls?


I'm with you. Boooo, free codecs!!!


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By torpor on 1/12/2011 10:37:23 AM , Rating: 5
Its amusing to watch.

Apple, a company utterly committed to protecting it's one significant source of income, which is the iTunes lynchpin, has convinced many, many naive people that it is somehow a great big cuddly uncle giving out lots of amazing goodies.

I like Apple's stuff, I use anything Steve Jobs caresses on stage. Who wouldn't?

Meanwhile slowly but surely the hand gently holding and caressing our balls tightens it's grip with the power of a FUD campaign. Occasionally, as with this episode with H264 support, that hand flexes and we feel instinctively our vulnerability and the power the hand holding our balls has.

But the goodies are so nice and Apple knows how to talk the talk and make us all feel loved and protected in Apple's "insanely great" grasp.

One day that hand will tighten and as we gasp in pain and remember how much we thought Apple thought different and how Apple was so committed to our "freedoms" we will feel a deep sense of shame and embarrassment.

How could we believe such crap?

How could we let someone get such a firm grasp on our balls?

You tell me.


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By Tony Swash on 1/12/11, Rating: -1
RE: The cupped hand flexes
By torpor on 1/12/2011 12:44:45 PM , Rating: 5
Initially, I was mostly just making fun of your post. Despite the dissembling charge, I'll just say, "let me be clear".

Google has chosen not to support H.264 decoding natively in their browser.

So what? Well, H.264 is the primary codec being used to support HTML5 enhancements, the primary enhancement people are talking about being "native" web video.

Steve Jobs' stance on internet video is well known - dump the current overwhelmingly used standard, Adobe Flash, in favor of H.264-backed HTML5.

So this is really an extension of the HTML5/Flash wars largely initiated by Jobs himself.

The fact that he's heavily invested in the company which holds the patent on H.264 is no concidence.

I expect this is going to fall out like .mp3 fell out - Frauenhofer Institute was only too happy to just let people use .mp3 freely....until it became the common standard, at which time lawsuits and licensing dollars flew. The .mp3 standard has become hugely profitable for Frauenhofer due to their timing of patent use, despite innovations like LAME.

It's Apple that has you by the balls, not Google.

And you're too busy moaning to even see it.


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By boobo on 1/12/2011 2:22:48 PM , Rating: 2
The good thing about a "free and open grasp" is that, even if Google removes a codec from the browser, it would take all of 20 minutes to add it back in, since we have access to the browser's source.


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By sprockkets on 1/12/2011 3:53:56 PM , Rating: 2
You know that webm is now in the open domain, and has an irrevocable license on all its patents.

So no, Google can't grasp you or anyone else by the balls if webm succeeds.


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By bigboxes on 1/13/2011 1:55:22 AM , Rating: 2
Reader1, your knee-jerk reaction to anything concerning Apple is nauseating. It gets old. Very.


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By reader1 on 1/13/2011 3:18:59 PM , Rating: 1
*pokes head up*

who what I posted something?

(wait while I get into character)

*cough* *clears throat*

Google is a bunch of freetards. Apple and their superior codec will win the internets and will sue them with their patents. webm is trash and is only good for google's vertical markets.


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By The Raven on 1/14/2011 5:39:15 PM , Rating: 2
Well played bro, but the bad news is that your name was used to insult Tony... I think. Anyway, I'm not sure how I would feel if I were you. Like water off a duck's back, R1...duck's back.


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By Suntan on 1/13/2011 10:43:13 AM , Rating: 2
I’m being completely honest here… Google has done less to disturb my sense of well being than reading this post and getting to the part where he (graphically) started to describe ball cupping.

-Suntan


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By Tony Swash on 1/13/11, Rating: 0
RE: The cupped hand flexes
By sprockkets on 1/13/2011 11:56:33 AM , Rating: 2
The author made several mistakes and flaws in his article - the almost 300 responses say as much.


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By The Raven on 1/14/2011 5:54:35 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, that writer makes a lot of great points.... about not believing everything you read on the internet!

The big thing that kept glaring in my eye was that his advocacy for one codec (free or bond) is somehow construed to be a form of freedom. I mean that is like saying, Apple is holding back the tech community because they are stealing $$$ from MS who have the best chance at making the perfect OS. And how will we distribute apps for all those OSs? Oh me, oh my!

But alas, this is an argument that FOSS advocates are all too familiar with. To fork, or not to fork...that is the questions ;-)


“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith














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