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Google Acquiring VP3 Developer On2 Technologies

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the my-crystal-ball-shows-the-web-is-good-for-video dept.

Google 133

R.Mo_Robert writes "BetaNews is reporting that Google is acquiring On2, the video codec company and original developers of the VP3 codec from which Theora is derived. The article suggests that this may mean Google is backing Ogg Theora as the HTML5 video standard, but this is likely not the case--with Theora already being open-source and On2 having disclaimed all rights and patents, there is no reason Google should have needed to do this to push Theora. You may recall from some time back that HTML5 no longer specifies which video codec(s) a browser should support due to there being, unfortunately, no suitable codec at this time. But Google (known for supporting H.264) practically owns Web video with YouTube in most people's minds, so their influence could really swing the future of HTML5 video either way. It remains to be seen whether Google's acquisition of On2 has any bearing on their plans for video on the Web."

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VP3 is old (4, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#28960591)

Theora was based on one of On2's earliest codecs. VP6 & VP7 have been far more successful and are even used as the Flash video codecs. If Google is acquiring On2, it could mean that they're looking to open up the formats that have defined Flash as the media player of choice.

Re:VP3 is old (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28960797)

Except VP7 is way too slow to decode on SIMD processors. The problem isn't the total amount of processing, but the amount of processing that is sequential in nature (ie not SIMDizable). So they didn't notice until they tried to optimise for concurrancy (as found in X86 media extensions as well as most DSPs and low power media processors). By then it was too late - oopsie!

Cue a massive backpedal with VP8 which runs in a little over half the cycles compared to equivilant VP7. See http://www.dspdesignline.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=214303691

This caused plenty of problems for vendors who tried to support VP7 - often making embarissingly optimistic performance promises based soley on On2's press releases. Oops again!

Re:VP3 is old (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28960837)

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            Rules of seeking relationship advice (Score:5, Insightful)
            by tsvk (624784)

            The first rule of seeking relationship advice on Slashdot:

            1. Do not seek relationship advice on Slashdot.
                    o
                    o
                        â
                        Re:Rules of seeking relationship advice (Score:-1)
                        by Smidge207 (1278042) on Wednesday August 05, @05:35AM (#28953899) Journal

                        1. Do not seek relationship advice on Slashdot.

                        ^THIS!^ Now imagine for a second you're at the home of Rob Malda. He's having breakfast with his long-time lover Michael Simms and the two are - of course - bickering like an old married couple. With me so far? Good. Michael ruffles the NY Times paper and coughs under his breath. Rob butters his toast and lights another Parliament. From under the table a mischievous cackling is heard. In a high, feminine falsetto, Rob asks Michael who's under there.

                        "Oh that's just ESR. He's been under there all night." Michael says and goes back to his paper. Sure enough, ESR crawls out from under the table dressed in women's thigh-high stockings (black) stiletto pumps and negligee. There are purple bruises under his left eye just at the cheek bone and what can be construed as crusted drying semen on the corners of his mouth; ESR has - apparently - had a rough night, indeed.

                        Ever since Eric Raymond had raped him at his house in Holland and later again at Slashdot New Year's Eve party, Rob Malda has had ESR living with him off and on. Michael doesn't care for the arrangement but who cares? So, sleeping until four or five in the evening, ESR would wake and surf the 'net for pictures of young, boyish men and call and talk tearfully to Hemos on the phone. He ignored Slashdot, thinking himself above editing tech-news, while his Open Source stocks slipped. Depression and anxiety had Rob so entirely that it seemed he would never again enjoy life. He had truly hit bottom.

                        Last night, Rob had forgotten his birthday but Hemos managed to coax him out for a night on the town across the state in Detroit. After their little road trip, the pair went on a shopping spree, took in a movie, and ate dinner at a very chic and expensive restaurant. After stopping for ice cream, the two friends headed to Rob's favorite Detroit night spot, the Malebox Bar. There they wasted no time dancing to the latest hard house remixes and downing shot after shot of watermelon Jolly Rancher drinks.

                        As time wore on and mix after mix pounded the dance floor, Rob and Hemos began feeling tipsy and decided to take a break in the club's arcade. The two fought through Mortal Kombat like an old married couple, went back and forth in Altered Beast, and played a couple rounds of Spy Hunter. The conversation had slowly turned to MAME, an Open Source program that emulated dozens of arcade games by means of illegally pirated ROM files, as they began playing Rampage. Rob and Hemos had gigs and gigs of illegally pirated ROM files.

                        "It's ludicrous playing video games here when we have MAME on our systems at home," Hemos said as he punched Rob in the back of the head and jumped halfway up a building.

                        "Yeah," Rob said as he smashed a tank. "But you can't get any action sitting at home playing video games like you can here."

                        "Too bad there's no way to pick up guys and play MAME at the same time," Hemos said as he ate a bathing woman and burped. "That would be the best."

                        "Yeah, that would be pretty great," Rob said.

                        Rob stopped climbing the building he was on, leaving Hemos to smash the building and jump away before it collapsed. Rob fell on his butt and lost some life.

                        "Rob, are you okay?" Hemos asked while button-mashing Rob's character into oblivion. "Rob?"

                        Hemos continued speaking, but Rob wasn't there. His eyes were wide and glazed, focused elsewhere. He was smiling weird and crooked as the game showed in reverse in his eyes. Hemos finally turned to look at Rob.

                        "Robert Hubert Malda!" Hemos yelled, hands on hips in frustration. Not waiting for a response, he reached out and pinched his friend's elbow. He didn't like that look in his eyes it always meant something bad was about to happen. Rob came to, shaking his head and stepping back from the game, which was now blinking GAME OVER at him. He turned and looked at Hemos, who was fuming.

                        "Jeff, uh, I'm sorry. I guess I zoned out there for a minute," he said as he looked around the bar. "I, um. I'll be right back."

                        "Jesus Christ, Rob!" Jeff said between breaths. "This thing is heavy and there's barely room for it in my back seat!"

                        "Ha, yeah right," Rob said, grunting. "There's always room in your back seat!"

                        Jeff rolled his eyes at Rob's little jab. "You be nice, you're lucky I'm letting you do this."

                        With one final shove and groan, Rob was finished, and the old, worn arcade game shell was wedged tightly the back seat of Jeff's VW Jetta. They bound the back doors to the machine with bungie cord and then tied their red hankies to it, sat down against the side of the car, and lit cigarettes.

                        "So what exactly are you going to do with this thing?" Hemos asked between puffs. "You're building a MAME system?"

                        "My plan is much more ambitious than just some MAME system," Rob said, smirking. "But it's based on the same concept. It also combines my love of hairless man-boys."

                        There was a depraved look of malignant inspiration in Rob's tired, bloodshot eyes.

                        "It was when you were talking about playing MAME and getting ass," Rob continued. "That very instant, on that very spot, I decided to build a twink molesting machine."

                        Hemos choked on his cigarette. "A what?" he asked in disbelief. Rob flicked his cigarette away and stood up. "I'm going to build a cage in which I can entrap young boys a cage from which they can't escape and are totally vulnerable in."

                        Hemos sighed. "Vulnerable to what, Rob?"

                        "To homosexual assault, of course!" Rob leered as he entered the passenger side door.

                        "Oh god, Rob," Hemos said, opening the driver's side door. "You have been watching way too much hentai!"

                        And with that, the car, weighed down by the old arcade machine, rolled off toward Holland.

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Re:VP3 is old (3, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 5 years ago | (#28961591)

Even if they don't want to open them up, you can imagine that they'd rather not be utterly dependent on Adobe Flash to deliver their YouTube content. Owning VP7 (and VP8/VP9/VP1234567 and whatnot) can't hurt.

Re:VP3 is old (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 5 years ago | (#28962463)

Owning VP7 can't hurt.

How would it help? Google is pretty much entirely dependent on other software to get video content to the user, whether it is Flash, video plugins or the browser alone. Owning the codec means nothing if they can't convince the browsers to implement it. As things stand now VP8 is in an even worse position to be adopted by browsers than either H.264 or Theora.

If they do open it up, with a royalty-free transferable patent license, then it has a pretty good chance. Mozilla's and Opera's problem with H.264 was that it was impossible for them to pay patent licenses for each copy they distributed. An opened up VP8 would not have that problem. One of Apple's problem with Theora is that they weren't confident that there were no patent liabilities. Since On2 has been commercially licensing it's codecs for a while now, and no-one else has sued for patent royalties, it is on a bit firmer ground than Theora in that regard. Apple's other problem was that there weren't any hardware implementations of Theora. AFAIK, VP8 doesn't either, although there were(are?) VP6 decoders [on2.com] so maybe On2 has some products in development that they haven't announced yet.

My biggest question is whether On2 holds all the patents for the VP* codecs or whether they are cross-licensing various patents from other folks that apply to many other codecs like VC-1 and H.264. If that is the case then Google will have a very difficult time opening up the On2 codecs any more than the various MPEG codecs already are.

Re:VP3 is old (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28962547)

I would imagine the overhead costs to run YouTube are pretty much related to the amount of storage and bandwidth required to deliver streaming videos. Reduce either of those, and you reduce the cost of running YouTube.

Maybe it was cheaper to buy the company and control where it puts its efforts than to wait for something "magical" to happen.

Re:VP3 is old (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#28964917)

Google makes a browser. Google employs a load of software engineers. It would be trivial for them to integrate VP6 (for example) into Chrome for the video tag and provide plugins for other browsers (On2 already makes DirectShow and QuickTime plugins, which will be used by IE and Safari). If you want high quality YouTube pictures, you have to use Chrome or install the plugin. And, if you're downloading and installing software anyway, why not try Chrome?

Discontinuity (1)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 5 years ago | (#28962671)

As a developer, I can say that Google's product suite is unsettlingly dynamic. There's a new API every week or so, and no asssurance of futures. For example, I was all excited about using Google's JS extensions (with the ability to load/save data locally) but I've yet to see this working anywhere but Windows. Chrome is nice but Windows only, there's now (finally!) a Linux version, but it's so buggy that it often crashes X windows. And now they have their own O/S!? Two?! But which one should I use?

It's a mish-mash of poorly integrated pieces, and while they are doing some cool stuff, I need a bit more stability and completeness to do much with them. See, when I write software, the software becomes infrastructure for my clients. They use and depend on my software. I have hosting contracts for PHP apps I wrote 10 years ago, and the fact that the PHP guys have done so well at backwards compatibility means that I've transitioned from PHP 3 to 4 to 5 with so little porting that I didn't even charge the end users for the effort!

  I can't spend weeks/months working on software with a platform that's 'cool' but won't be supported in a year or two!

Re:Discontinuity (2, Informative)

ajs (35943) | more than 5 years ago | (#28963063)

As a developer, I can say that Google's product suite is unsettlingly dynamic. There's a new API every week or so,

Yes, new APIs are a serious problem... Sorry, what?!

and no asssurance of futures.

This is different from... what? If Google goes away or (more likely) drops a project, the APIs aren't going to be worth much, but if [company X] goes away or drops a project the same is true. Was there a point in that?

For example, I was all excited about using Google's JS extensions (with the ability to load/save data locally)

That's a standard HTML5 feature now. Bad choice.

but I've yet to see this working anywhere but Windows.

Firefox 3.5.x on all platforms. I believe IE has committed to this or possibly even shipped, but for now you can use gears under IE. Latest Safari also supports HTML5, which is why the Latitude app on the iPhone can get your location.

Chrome is nice but Windows only, there's now (finally!) a Linux version, but it's so buggy that it often crashes X windows.

OK, seriously are you just trolling?! I've run Chrome under X and never seen this happen. Are you using an experimental X server?

And now they have their own O/S!? Two?! But which one should I use?

Ah, you are trolling. OK, sorry, nevermind.

PS: For the readers who are confused: Google has one released OS and it's currently supported on phone handsets only (Android). Google Chrome OS has not been released [blogspot.com] and there's no indication of exactly what niche it will fill once it is, so there's no sense in getting worked up over "choices" that don't exist.

Re:Discontinuity (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 5 years ago | (#28963327)

It crashes X for you? I've been using chromium on linux for months, and I don't think that's ever happened for me. Not to say it's not a problem, but given that it's not even at an alpha state yet platform specific bugs are to be expected.

Re:VP3 is old (2, Informative)

BlueBoxSW.com (745855) | more than 5 years ago | (#28962157)

Batman--

You gas a PASS. And the original article gets a FAIL.

I wish they would do a little more research before posting these articles.

This is about taking the codecs in the latest version of Flash and merging them into Chrome/HTML5.

Re:VP3 is old (1)

R.Mo_Robert (737913) | more than 5 years ago | (#28963121)

Exactly: as the submitter of this story, I thought it was odd that BetaNews seems to think it has something to do with Google liking Theora. On2 really has nothing to do with it anymore; they disclaimed and open-sourced VP2 long ago. (If there are any supposed patent issues with Theora, On2 certainly has nothing to do with it.)

What is, of course, more interesting is the relationship of On2's newer formats to Flash...

Google probably wants the engineering taltent. (0)

bezenek (958723) | more than 5 years ago | (#28960647)

-Todd

Re:Google probably wants the engineering taltent. (1)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 5 years ago | (#28960781)

For $100 million dollars? That's what Google paid for On2. Why not just poach the people directly and let On2 die? That would be a lot cheaper for Google.

Re:Google probably wants the engineering taltent. (1, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28960901)

But that would be evil.

Re:Google probably wants the engineering taltent. (0)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 5 years ago | (#28960955)

Really? Why?

Re:Google probably wants the engineering taltent. (2, Interesting)

bezenek (958723) | more than 5 years ago | (#28961261)

The non-evil, best way to acquire this talent is to buy the company. Sometimes this is not possible because the company has many other assets which make it expensive. This should not be the case with On2.

Also, maybe the original investors in On2 were smart enough to put non-compete clauses in the contracts of the engineers they hired for their start-up. After all, when you invest millions of dollars in a start-up, you usually want to protect your investment.

-Todd

Re:Google probably wants the engineering taltent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28961561)

Thank god I live in a country where non-compete clauses aren't legal. I cannot imagine how much that must create havoc in the startup scene.

Re:Google probably wants the engineering taltent. (1)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 5 years ago | (#28963515)

Todd,

Why is buying the company less evil than just hiring the people that work there?

Have you ever been a hiring manager?

Re:Google probably wants the engineering taltent. (1)

bezenek (958723) | more than 5 years ago | (#28963693)

I have not been a hiring manager, but I have worked with many people who have been. Although, I think this is more of a topic for HR and company lawyers.

Engineers are considered (or at least they were at one time) an asset, and companies protect this asset in several ways:

1. They restrict people from working for a direct competitor for some period of time after leaving a company.

2. They restrict people from hiring co-workers away from a company from which they have recently left.

3. Leaking information about the people who work for a company can be grounds for termination.

If you are unfamiliar with these issues, perhaps you have never been in a position which makes you not easily replaceable. Some of the least replaceable people are analog and VLSI circuit designers (which I am not).

-Todd

Re:Google probably wants the engineering taltent. (1)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 5 years ago | (#28963921)

Todd,

Non-compete clauses [wikipedia.org] are not legally enforceable in the State of California.

Given that fact, please explain why the world changing success of 'Silicon Valley' happened and is still happening in California? Google, Apple, EBay, etc, all seem to be doing just fine without the Non-complete clauses that you refer to.

Re:Google probably wants the engineering taltent. (1)

bezenek (958723) | more than 5 years ago | (#28964159)

You are correct. I guess when professors I know at a top-10 school are not allowed to consult for company B because they have consulted for company A in the past, this is not related.

Also, when Intel goes to court to keep one of their engineers from working for AMD, this is not related.

I believe IBM often participates in this sort of court battle.

But, all of this is off topic. If you want to get a team that works on a certain type of technology and does it well, the best way is to find a team that has been doing it. Hiring that entire team away from a company without the companies blessing may be legal, but it is not the sort of thing that wins praise outside of the boardroom or a shareholder's meeting.

Purchasing a company outright is the best way to take control of the technology and get a set of already-trained engineers.

Perhaps someone who knows someone at Google or On2 can confirm whether or not Google wanted the engineers or just the IP. Then we can quit arguing about this issue.

-Todd

Re:Google probably wants the engineering taltent. (1)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 5 years ago | (#28964993)

Todd poaching people to come work at a company is mutually agreed to by both the hiring company and the the employee. Every participant in the transaction can enter into the transaction or not according to their free will. Why do you persist in maligning that? Should you or I be slaves to the first company that employs us?

Re:Google probably wants the engineering taltent. (1)

bezenek (958723) | more than 5 years ago | (#28965103)

Yes. If I am an expert in branch prediction and I work for Intel on their branch predictor (which was one of their most-guarded secrets when I worked for Intel Labs), then if AMD hires me, I am going to have a hard time working on AMD's branch predictor.

Now, if AMD wants to hire me to work on something different from branch prediction, fine.

I do not think Google is going to ask the On2 engineers to work on anything other than CODECs, as least at first.

-Todd

Re:Google probably wants the engineering taltent. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#28964969)

Not to mention, when you get the company, you get all of the code that the people have been working on. Even without non-compete clauses, it's very difficult legally to get people to work on a very similar product because they can easily write something derived from code that they did as work-for-hire at their previous job, opening you up to lawsuits for copyright infringement. If you're in the USA, their former employer may also have files patents relating to the stuff they were working on. By buying the company, you get the code, the patents, and the people. The people are the most important part, but with the code and the patents they can immediately start working at full speed, while without them they may need to spend a long time working around and duplicating old code.

Re:Google probably wants the engineering taltent. (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 5 years ago | (#28962109)

Because they probably also want On2's patent portfolio and trade secrets as well as the people.

Re:Google probably wants the engineering taltent. (5, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#28962117)

Yeah, it's likely that they want the company's IP, too. Go back and look at the whole HTML 5 and Theora debate. Apparently Google is paying some kind of licensing fee for h264 for both YouTube and Chrome, probably for Android and ChromeOS too if they're providing support. Theora is an open source version of On2's codec that is both old and doesn't have any hardware support.

I don't think it's too much of a stretch to guess that Google wants to open up On2's most recent codecs and try to push other companies to support it. That way they could use the same video formats for all their products without paying additional licensing fees. Plus, they can move YouTube to using HTML5's "video" tag without having to keep a Theora copy to support Firefox/Linux and a h264 copy to support Safari/iPods/iPhones/AppleTVs. Think of what they'll save on transcoding and storage.

Re:Google probably wants the engineering taltent. (1)

mariushm (1022195) | more than 5 years ago | (#28963053)

... and they no longer have to pay a fee to On2 for each encoded video if what I hear (that they licensed some custom servers made by On2 for processing videos) is true

Re:Google probably wants the engineering taltent. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#28965025)

I was suggesting in the previous articles that Google, Apple, and Mozilla corp should jointly approach the MPEG-LA and offer to buy the H.264 patents outright. Buying On2 is probably cheaper, however I wouldn't be surprised if their newer codecs contain algorithms that other people have patented (e.g. Microsoft) which are covered by cross-licensing deals. This would make it impossible for Mozilla to support them, but still make it possible for Apple, Google, and Microsoft.

Re:Google probably wants the engineering taltent. (2, Interesting)

n8_f (85799) | more than 5 years ago | (#28962269)

That's a bonus. They want the IP. YouTube lives or dies by Adobe Flash. They want a codec that is as efficient as H.264 that they can open source and get into HTML5. Google says Theora isn't; apparently they think VP8 is. Then they can start pushing people towards HTML5 browsers. I bet they could get a lot of YouTube visitors to upgrade if it meant they could watch clips in HD versus the quality you see now with Flash.

Re:Google probably wants the engineering taltent. (1)

makomk (752139) | more than 5 years ago | (#28963359)

YouTube lives or dies by Adobe Flash. They want a codec that is as efficient as H.264 that they can open source and get into HTML5. Google says Theora isn't; apparently they think VP8 is.

Except the only reason VP3/Theora is relatively patent-safe is that it's a design mostly based on ideas that date back to the earliest video codecs. I'm not convinced that any newer codec would have the same guarantees; modern codec designers seem to quite like copying bits of h.264 (Real are, IIRC, particularly fond of this).

So what is the reason for this? (1, Redundant)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#28960679)

So can we speculate the reason for Google's action? Let's speculate. I'd like to see what is on minds of slashdotters.

Re:So what is the reason for this? (5, Informative)

Neon Spiral Injector (21234) | more than 5 years ago | (#28960905)

No speculation, I submitted this story also, with a quote from Google's Blog:

Because we spend a lot of time working to make the overall web experience better for users, we think that video compression technology should be a part of the web platform. To that end, we're happy to announce today that we've signed a deal to acquire On2 Technologies, a leading creator of high-quality video compression technology.

So it doesn't remain to be seen whether Google's acquisition of On2 has any bearing on their plans for video on the Web.

Re:So what is the reason for this? (1)

R.Mo_Robert (737913) | more than 5 years ago | (#28963157)

...So it doesn't remain to be seen whether Google's acquisition of On2 has any bearing on their plans for video on the Web.

Actually, their blog seems to be pretty vague:

Although we're not in a position to discuss specific product plans until after the deal closes, we are committed to innovation in video quality on the web, and we believe that On2 Technologies' team and technology will help us further that goal.

I get that they want to do something with video and the Web...but that really doesn't tell us anything about their future plans, the most interesting one of which could be whether they plan to open any of these formats or push for any in HTML 5. (If anyone has the power to do this, it's Google with YouTube. Whatever YouTube chooses, browsers must support to keep users happy.)

Re:So what is the reason for this? (4, Funny)

0racle (667029) | more than 5 years ago | (#28960929)

"Why are we going to acquire this company Google?"

"For the same reason we acquire every other company, to try and take over the world!"

Re:So what is the reason for this? (1)

NoCowardsHere (1278858) | more than 5 years ago | (#28961845)

Lots of big companies have already worked out who they need to pay off to use Mpeg4, but are suspicious about Theora because they're worried about patent trolls with all sorts of wacky claims coming out of the woodwork as soon as Theora takes off. Which is particularly difficult for companies that have a history of settling every lawsuit that comes their way rather than spend the money to fight. Apple has specifically announced that they won't support Theora for exactly this reason.

Now, enter Google, a company with a history of standing up to bad lawsuits and consumer rights, who has just come forward and put a big target on their head. Nobody wants to sue Google, at least not unless they know they've got a really great case, because they know that Google isn't gonna settle. If Google starts pushing Theora advocacy hard, starts using it heavily, and nobody sues them, other companies are likely to be comforted and will be much more likely to follow suit.

That's my theory. Though I've gotta say, I could also see them opening up some of On2's newer codecs. I didn't know about those.

Re:So what is the reason for this? (1)

mzs (595629) | more than 5 years ago | (#28962299)

One aspect is that Flash 8 adopted VP6. VP6 runs adequately on punier cpus (single threaded 500-800 Mhz or so little cache) like those used by Android compared to H.264 at similar resolutions and bitrates. Another reason is that going forward the licensing for VP6 is going to be free for google compared to using H.264 (there are currently some rates that are essentially 0 for H.264 for those streaming rather than devices but that is set to expire).

One good thing that may come as a side effect of this is that there was some lawyer writing letters to libavcodec from On2 about patent infringement and what not regarding VP6/7. Maybe google will make some assurances about putting an end to that sort of behavior.

Re:So what is the reason for this? (1)

mad.frog (525085) | more than 5 years ago | (#28965161)

VP6 runs adequately on punier cpus

There is no codec that will run adequately on typical smartphone CPUs of today, VP6 included.

Acceptable video performance requires hardware acceleration.

Hardware for running H.264 is commonly available.

AFAIK there is no commodity hardware available for On2 codecs.

Chrome, HTML5 disaster coming (2, Interesting)

FlashBuster3000 (319616) | more than 5 years ago | (#28960683)

So now Chrome can support only VP6/7 in die tag, Apple does it's quicktime thing, MS does .wmv and Firefox OGG. Hooray!
Honestly, i don't think that would happen, i hope that it may be open sourced and that Android will get some "high quality" video stuff (as far as you can get that on mobile displays).

Re:Chrome, HTML5 disaster coming (4, Insightful)

Shatrat (855151) | more than 5 years ago | (#28961091)

I would predict:
Chrome supports anything it can legally
Firefox supports anything it can legally
Safari supports anything it can legally
IE tries using only WMV for a little while, then opens up to other formats to slow the exodus.

I could see Google and Apple using their websites to push one codec or another, but I think they want their browsers to be as capable as possible.

Re:Chrome, HTML5 disaster coming (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 5 years ago | (#28961291)

LOL, you might be onto something there.

Re:Chrome, HTML5 disaster coming (4, Informative)

ianare (1132971) | more than 5 years ago | (#28962635)

No, apple has stated they have no intention of supporting Ogg.

FTFA

Apple is the only vendor that will not be supporting Ogg.

MS is out of the debate because they will not be supporting <video> at all.

Re:Chrome, HTML5 disaster coming (2, Interesting)

seizurebattlerobot (265408) | more than 5 years ago | (#28964953)

I agree that Chrome and Firefox will support anything they can legally, but I do not think that Safari will implement Theora. Here's my rationale:

Right now, Apple sees Google as a threat, as evidenced by the recent hostility Apple is showing toward Google. Specifically, Apple's blocking of Google Voice and Lattitude on the iPhone. They are "partners" in name only.

This is because the smart people at Apple realize that Google's philosophy of inexpensive lowest bidder open platforms is the antithesis of Apple's closed, locked down, and tightly controlled vision for the future. Internally, Apple attributes their closed platform philosophy for their current successes. They realize also that trouble for Google is good for Apple.

The backdrop for all this is the entire telecommunications industry on the verge of a paradigm shift. A growing number of people are foregoing landlines for owning cell phones only. Cell phones themselves have become ubiquitous. Cell phone lag, audio compression artifacts, and frequent drop outs have reduced the phone service expectations of the general public to a point that modern voice over IP, with a modern internet connection is a valid competitor in the phone service arena.

Today's smart phones are basically VOIP clients on a proprietary, closed network (the phone carrier's network), with access to a larger, also closed, network (the international telephone system). Carriers profit tremendously from the closed nature of the network. Byte for byte, a data feed to the moon is cheaper than the text messages on most phone carrier networks. Apple also profits from this closed arrangement via its iPhone exclusivity deal with AT&T, who pays them handsomely for the privilege.

Google aims to open the phone network by implementing its functionality using open Internet based protocols. Google Talk will replace SMS messages and traditional phone calls. Other Google services will be tied in for a richer communications experience than what the telephone networks can provide on their own. Eventually, any phone with Internet connectivity will be able to use Google's services. Once this happens, the phone networks will be mere data providers for an open network, instead of gatekeepers of a closed network. This will drive down prices, telco profits, and the cost of accessing Google's services. Apple will have lost a source of revenue, as networks will not be able to afford to pay them for exclusivity.

Apple pays lip service to open source philosophies when it benefits them, but have no intentions to further these philosophies or their influence. By this, I mean that they love being able to use the work of others, and will contribute back to open source projects they've used (BSD, KHTML, etc.), but it will be a cold day in hell before we ever see an open source version of iTunes because they do not believe in the ideology. Apple is committed internally to the closed platform vision of the future, where they are the sole gatekeeper. Open formats and standards are a threat to the dominance of the gatekeeper model that Apple is committed to. This is also why we'll never see official support for FLAC, Ogg, Theora, Matroska, or any other open codec in iTunes, Safari, or iPhoneOS.

Re:Chrome, HTML5 disaster coming (2, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28961819)

How would a situation that is slightly better than the situation that exists today in any way constitute a disaster?

With the iPhone supporting H.264, plenty of websites are going to follow, and it is reasonably likely that some third party will come up with a shim that enables H.264 in Firefox (using FFMPEG, some derivative of FFMPEG, or maybe Windows internal codecs (if there is support there, I'm not paying attention)).

Google owns YouTube, yes... (1)

cnvandev (1538055) | more than 5 years ago | (#28960727)

But Google (known for supporting H.264) practically owns Web video with YouTube in most people's minds, so their influence could really swing the future of HTML5 video either way.

I'm not so sure. I doubt the vast majority of people who believe Internet Explorer to be the internet noticed that there was some kind of takeover. YouTube owns web video in most people's minds, yes, but it was difficult to tell anything happened even for those who did know what was going on. Even now, the bottom of the page says "© 2009 YouTube, LLC." Either way, I'm waiting for the day when YouTube uses the tag for displaying media and I can finally forget about FLV forever. Long time coming.

An open web standard? (1)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 5 years ago | (#28960911)

Google has a lot to gain by upgrading or replacing Ogg Theora in order to create a codec which is suitable as a web standard. The biggest item which could get in the way of Android taking off is proprietary video embedding using Flash and (especially) Silverlight.

I hope they pour huge resources into the development of such a standard, and release it as open source. This would not be out of character for Google, based on what they did with Chrome. It would be a benefit for end users, and a competitive gain for Google.

Re:An open web standard? (0)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28960945)

"We are star stuff."

Yeah, but so are rocks.

Re:An open web standard? (0, Offtopic)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28961031)

I thought that was kinda the point. Like, all we, and everything, is is star stuff, and not the special created-by-god things some people say. Just self-organized star matter, like rocks and such.

Cisco anyone? (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 5 years ago | (#28960967)

Google is starting to remind me of Cisco.

For years, Cisco innovated, created, well, MADE really cool things.

Now, they just buy them. I see Google heading that route.

(cue someone saying that Google still innovates, etc. Yeah, I know. So does Cisco. But all their major stuff in the past, oh, I dunno, 5 years at least, has been purchases of other companies making cool stuff.)

Re:Cisco anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28961155)

So what? As long as cool stuff keeps being made, it doesn't matter who owns it. Unless it's Disney, and they lock it away for decades.

Re:Cisco anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28962423)

yeah: I really miss the muppets.

Re:Cisco anyone? (1, Informative)

Duncan3 (10537) | more than 5 years ago | (#28961297)

Sadly, your statement was never true. Everything you think of as from Google was bought except the original Pagerank (obsoleted about a week after they started using it), which is licensed from Stanford. And AdSense, responsible for 99.9999% of their revenues, feeding the rest of the company, was bought and started from work at Brown University.

Please provide evidence for anything you think Google invented in-house.

Re:Cisco anyone? (2, Interesting)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 5 years ago | (#28961479)

Gmail? I'd say that's pretty key.

I also didn't say it was a bad thing, it just reminds me of Cisco.

Re:Cisco anyone? (1)

Duncan3 (10537) | more than 5 years ago | (#28964479)

Webmail has been around a lot longer then Google.

Re:Cisco anyone? (1)

ChrisMounce (1096567) | more than 5 years ago | (#28965619)

True, but Gmail was a reinvention of webmail. At the time, nobody else had a webmail application which used AJAX to such a great extent. No other webmail had Gmail's conversation interface. Most other webmail used folders instead of tags. And Google really pushed the storage limits -- I think Yahoo Mail was around 6 MB at the time.

Just because they didn't invent the components doesn't mean the whole wasn't innovative. Either that, or you have some *really* high standards for innovation!

Re:Cisco anyone? (0, Offtopic)

ChrisMounce (1096567) | more than 5 years ago | (#28961685)

People innovate, not companies -- a company is just an abstract legal construct. And innovative people are "bought" with high salaries and environments which accept their innovation.

So from that, yes, Google doesn't innovate at all, and neither does any other company. But Google seems to be pretty friendly toward innovators and seems to be encouraging innovation (like the 20% free time policy, which I've heard led to Google News).

Re:Cisco anyone? (1)

Duncan3 (10537) | more than 5 years ago | (#28964497)

Which is why I used the term "in-house". The companies are not people thread is down the hall.

Re:Cisco anyone? (1)

ChrisMounce (1096567) | more than 5 years ago | (#28965229)

In the second part of my last post, I mentioned Google News, which was developed in-house. According to Wikipedia, half of their new products resulted from that 20% free time [wikipedia.org] . If it was invented and developed while the employee was at Google, I'd say that counts as in-house, don't you agree?

I'm not going to be a Google fanboy and claim they invented everything, but somehow I find it odd that Google would bring in lots of people who had good ideas in the past, and that those people would magically stop having new good ideas once they were Google employees.

Re:Cisco anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28962825)

Well you're looking at it from the perspective that only the brick is innovative but the structure built with it isn't. Google is buying companies and using their technology to innovate the way people use the Web. Would it really be very valuable for them to develop their own codec in house? Or to develop a Jabber clone (for Google Wave), or even google analytics that was Urchin. They buy these technologies and adapt them to their infrastructure to enhance their bottom line and future growth. I actually like this approach better since Google has been known to use a lot of open (no necessarily open source but open standards too) technologies which is a shift from the Microsoft way of doing things that has been reinventing the wheel in their own fashion.

Re:Cisco anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28964965)

Google seems to buy some software companies and run them just to mine their data. Orkut for example has been popular in Brazil, but I have never seen Google push it on me as a US customer. I feel like they just need sandboxes for their engineers to tinker with and mine data from as they work on their not-so-evil master plan.

Re:Cisco anyone? (1)

danpritts (54685) | more than 5 years ago | (#28961445)

it's the way of things with large companies. They can, and do, innovate. But they also know that there is a lot to be said for whipping out their checkbook.

The important thing with this is that they keep the assets & people of the acquired company. I worked at ANS Communications, which was sold by AOL to Worldcom in the mid 1990's.

ANS had a top-notch team, the best I have ever worked with. It had built the NSFNet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Science_Foundation_Network) more or less from scratch, and after the Internet commercialized it was one of the best tier-1 ISPs. (internal slogan: we suck less)

Worldcom let us wither on the vine. They did basically nothing to integrate us into the business, and ignored the talent we had. Folks drifted away. It's probably true that they bought us not for our staff, but because we came with a contract to run AOL's dial business; however, it was negligent of WCOM to ignore the rest of the quality asset they'd purchased.

OTOH i've heard stories of companies being acquired by cisco. cisco knows how to do it right; they pay attention to what they are buying. They integrate the staff and put them to work on something useful.

on a related note, I've got a friend who works for IBM who says that his best shot at a "promotion" (from a high to a very high level) is not to do something inside IBM, but to go to a startup, and get acquired by IBM.

Re:Cisco anyone? (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28961769)

Google has recently unveiled Google Voice, Android, Chromium, Wave and announced they are making Chrome OS. Purchasing a codec shop doesn't invalidate the fact that Google is still making some awesome products.

Facebook is supposedly the single most popular site on the web right now. And doesn't Microsoft own a big share of Facebook?

Facebook usurped Myspace's spot, and Myspace arguably was the successor to Geocities.

Who could knock Facebook from their perch? Google could with Wave.

Imagine one integrated service that allowed you to really create content, easily upload your content, and share it. Wave is also built around collaboration. Myspace allows you to customize your page, but you have to know HTML. Facebook won't let you customize your page. Wave could be Facebook mixed with Youtube, mixed with Myspace, mixed with Flickr, mixed with Office Live. Except it would be better, and completely free.

Seriously, don't sell Google short with Wave. I really think that if and when Google started to push it, it could become the biggest thing on the web.

Re:Cisco anyone? (1)

infinityxi (266865) | more than 5 years ago | (#28963015)

Well actually what makes wave so awesome is the decentralization that it offers. Google is working on wave with the intent that other people put up their own wave servers and then can usurp the whole walled garden that facebook pretty much has. So instead of having Google running a facebook type service solely competing on a 1 to 1 basis. Google could be one of many services where, no matter what non-Google wave service you are using, you can still communicate with a Google wave user and vice versa.

Re:Cisco anyone? (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28963161)

Wave can be implemented into other sites, because Google is cool like that. Except I'm sure it will be like their other APIs.

You can post a Google map on your business site if you only get X number of hits. But Facebook couldn't simply implement Wave without paying Google for it. And Microsoft also wouldn't stand for it.

So Orkut will likely be the first (and perhaps only) social network built around Wave. Well, no one you know is on Orkut, which somewhat kills that you say?

Well, when Gmail implements Wave, and Blogger implements Wave, and GTalk ties into Wave, you'll suddenly be hooked on Wave and introduced to Orkut. The point is that Google has all the tools to put together the absolute killer network that could take down giants like Facebook.

Re:Cisco anyone? (1)

TheSunborn (68004) | more than 5 years ago | (#28964735)

Facebook can easily implement wave without paying Google. They just need to run their own wave server. Wave have been designed with the explicit goal to allow users on different servers(Called federations) to talk to each other as if they were with the same Wave provider.

So facebook just have to develop their own wave server, or compile and install the opensource(bsd style) wave server that google have released.

No suitable codec? (3, Insightful)

nvrrobx (71970) | more than 5 years ago | (#28960983)

You may recall from some time back that HTML5 no longer specifies which video codec(s) a browser should support due to there being, unfortunately, no suitable codec at this time.

That's a bit misleading. There are several suitable codecs. The problem is the major players involved with their "Not Invented Here" mentalities.

Re:No suitable codec? (1)

geckipede (1261408) | more than 5 years ago | (#28961397)

Does it count as being invented here if over 90% of the work done on it was before the company was bought and became part of "here"?

Re:No suitable codec? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28961399)

It is about patents and rights. That is the real problem.
If Google opens the sources of the VP8-codec which is highly efficient, even better than h264, and declares that they would not enforce the patents then I see VP8 as the new HTML5 quasi standard. Google wants all information as accessible as possible to show more people more ads. So this is a logical step.

Re:No suitable codec? (1)

Frenchman113 (893369) | more than 5 years ago | (#28961797)

In what way is VP8 "highly efficient, even better than h264"? I hope you're not reading their press releases based off of imaginary information.

Re:No suitable codec? (4, Insightful)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 5 years ago | (#28961451)

There are several suitable codecs. The problem is the major players involved with their "Not Invented Here" mentalities.

Actually the problem isn't "NOT Invented Here" it's "Invented Here - please pay us". So Theora doesn't have the quality, but H.264 is patented. Neither is suitable to all interests for those reasons. Those were the leading contenders, others suffer from the same issues. So now that Google owns a good codec, clearly they'll use it. The question is weather they'll let others use it and on what terms. IMHO they should allow anyone to use it for free. Adding yet another proprietary codec to the web would be detrimental, while the upside of codec licensing is probably small potatoes to Google. Freeing a good codec would mean easy access to Google video for everyone and not-as-easy access to MS and Apple.

Re:No suitable codec? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28964073)

The problem with Theora isn't quality, it's the lack of available hardware decoders. This makes it a non-starter for mobile devices where software decoding kills battery life. The browser vendors that objected to Theora, Apple and Google, were concerned with implementing HTML5 functionality on the iPhone/Android platforms.

Re:No suitable codec? (1)

sadler121 (735320) | more than 5 years ago | (#28964855)

Whatever codec Google chooses for Youtube, then that codec will end up with hardware support. If that is VP8, then there will be hardware decoders for VP8.

The problem *is* quality, H.264 is the best codec by far, the only thing holding it back is it's patent licensing. If VP8 delivers on it's better quality than H.264, then that would be a great thing for video on the Web.

Re:No suitable codec? (1)

rcw-home (122017) | more than 5 years ago | (#28964487)

Actually the problem isn't "NOT Invented Here" it's "Invented Here - please pay us"

Wouldn't Bilski [wikipedia.org] render all of these patents invalid and therefore make this all moot?

Re:No suitable codec? (3, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#28962217)

Well I don't think that's quite right, either. You have to choose between a poorer-quality codec with no hardware support and a widely-supported codec with better quality but requires a licensing fee.

No there wasn't. (2, Informative)

pavon (30274) | more than 5 years ago | (#28962715)

There was no codec that was suitable to all the needs of the major browser developers. Having to pay royalties was an impossibility for Mozilla and Opera, and thus made H.264 (or any of the official MPEG codecs) unsuitable for them. Apple's concern about submarine patents on Theora technology was legitimate, as was the lack of hardware implementation (although that would've been resolved in time). Furthermore, Google's concerns about quality were legitimate if the goal is to move things forward beyond the crap that YouTube currently serves, rather than being content to be almost as good as the worst H.264 implementation available (the Flash implementation). Dirac is in an even worse position, and it processing requirements would be very undesirable for handheld devices.

So all but one (Theora) were absolutely not suitable for implementation by the browsers, and even that one was questionable. I don't know if VP8 will be any better - it's technology seems to be much more similar to the modern MPEG codecs than Theora, which makes me think that On2 is probably cross-licensing patents which Google will not be able to open up, but I may be wrong.

Re:No suitable codec? (1)

R.Mo_Robert (737913) | more than 5 years ago | (#28963311)

The "no suitable codec" blurb is a quote from Hixie [whatwg.org] . I (the submitter) left out the part that qualified this statement with "no suitable codec that all browser vendors are willing to ship," which is more or less what you mentioned. I probably should have mentioned that to make the meaning of "suitable" more clear.

Used by Youtube (3, Insightful)

magister159 (993682) | more than 5 years ago | (#28961179)

When I was researching creating my own video upload site I contacted On2 for information about licensing their flash video encoder. They claimed that "All major user submitted flash websites used their encoder", I assumed they were hinting at YouTube. Knowing this, an acquisition seems like a smart decision.

They're already buying the milk. Might as well just pay for the cow.

Re:Used by Youtube (1)

Satanicolas (1374761) | more than 5 years ago | (#28961457)

mod this way up, we have the real motivation here

Re:Used by Youtube (3, Informative)

kill-1 (36256) | more than 5 years ago | (#28961719)

YouTube has never used the VP6 codec.

Re:Used by Youtube (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 5 years ago | (#28965239)

What is their flash video encoded to?

My guesses for why (1)

jschottm (317343) | more than 5 years ago | (#28961247)

1. They're getting a good patent portfolio that they can use to defend their investment in YouTube with. They're fairly heavily invested in using ffmpeg which may [ffmpeg.org] have patent issues.
2. They're getting some very smart people and a user base that they can use to help steer the direction of video they way they want it to go.
3. VP7's being used for video chat by Skype and AIM - they might find it useful for their expanding telecommunications offerings.

Google wanted VP8 because it is a great ARM codec (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28961305)

VP8 was designed to deal with ARM chips and we know that Google Chrome OS will run on ARM chips. Why isn't this being connected in reports? Tech journalists are incompetent.

Re:Google wanted VP8 because it is a great ARM cod (2, Insightful)

yupa (751893) | more than 5 years ago | (#28961707)

But lot's of media oriented ARM platform already got h264 (and other) hardware accelerator...
It will be difficult to beat them with pure software.

Re:Google wanted VP8 because it is a great ARM cod (2, Insightful)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 5 years ago | (#28962341)

Actually, many of those ARM Media-Oriented SoC's (Read: anything from TI, Qualcomm, NVidia, etc...) actually have media DSPs and they're doing the h.264 decode with the DSP core instead of dedicated hardware...

In any case where you see one of the new ARM Cortex-A8/A9 based media chips, you'll be able to implement h.264 or VP3-VP8 in the system with relative ease. Including the iPhone...

On2's modern codec - vp8 (2, Interesting)

Jdodge99 (695972) | more than 5 years ago | (#28961535)

Actually they have vp6 and vp8 http://www.on2.com/index.php?564 [on2.com] which -- surprise, surprise -- on2 claims is better than h.264 -- if google decides to open up vp8 -- it would change the equation radically. Particularly the ogg/vp8 combo. It's also possible some vp3 diffs (theora) would still be useful when applied to vp8 -- although what the chances of this are, I couldn't say. It does solve the h.264 patent license problem for google with android and chrome os. A theora / vp8 release and a move to primacy of vp8 or derivative for youtube would reshape the whole playing field. I'm hopeful, but not gleeful yet.

news+opinion == modern news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28961553)

The heavy referencing of Ogg, which has advanced more than it's roots in On2 is like calling Linux is based on Unix.
Article is too biased to Ogg. I would think google would develop their own standard, much like Android and OpenSocial. Ogg is history.

Re:news+opinion == modern news (1)

BrentH (1154987) | more than 5 years ago | (#28962305)

If we're being pedantic, OGG is just a container and as such not interesting. Although opensourcing VP8 may halt work on Theora, Vorbis is going nowhere, as it's considered among the best audo codecs out there, if not the best.

FFmpeg support (3, Interesting)

DarkHelmet (120004) | more than 5 years ago | (#28961573)

As a developer using FFmpeg, I run into problems with our clients trying to encode / decode VP6 and VP7. I'm hoping that Google will subsequently offer open source implementations of these. It will make my life a whole lot easier.

Googled OWNED video (2, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28961705)

YouTube still loses money hand over fist, where as Hulu is growing in revenue and popularity.

It is extremely easy to rip videos from YouTube, which might be a sticking point in YouTube getting more mainstream/commercial content. Frankly, I don't want to see adds for lame user-generated content on YouTube. And I do find most YouTube content lacking. But at the end of the day, if both YouTube and Hulu had say, full Simpsons episodes, I'd rather support Google's site rather than NBC's site.

These developers could perhaps tweak their existing code to develop a closed, DRM-laden codec that would allow YouTube to stream commercial content. And if YouTube doesn't make a move like this, it may just continue to hemorrhage money from here to eternity.

Re:Googled OWNED video (1)

BlueBoxSW.com (745855) | more than 5 years ago | (#28962197)

Actually On2 has a commercial hosting arm.

Re:Googled OWNED video (1)

funkatron (912521) | more than 5 years ago | (#28962857)

YouTube still loses money hand over fist, where as Hulu is growing in revenue and popularity.

There are limits to how much Hulu can grow. Unless they get their international issues sorted they'll never reach the size of audience that youtube has.

Having said that, spreading a few servers around the world or buying content distribution service isn't exactly difficult.

Re:Googled OWNED video (1)

prozaker (1261190) | more than 5 years ago | (#28963561)

hulu is a USA only site.
while youtube can be seen worldwide (with a few exceptions).

Why Google is doing this (3, Insightful)

steveha (103154) | more than 5 years ago | (#28961771)

Google can now use On2 codecs such as VP8 in YouTube, for free. No more royalties. But the royalties are not that expensive [businessinsider.com] so this isn't likely a big deal for them. (Google could save more money by using smarter settings on their H.264 encoder [xiph.org] .)

Do you think Google will seriously try to make money by selling codecs? I don't. $100 million is small change to Google, and if that's all it cost to buy On2, then the On2 revenue stream must be trivial by Google's standards.

So, Google won't save much money and won't make much money by buying On2. I think they are up to something else.

What I think is more interesting is the possibility that Google will give On2's latest technology to the Theora guys. Just as Sun started giving away OpenOffice.org after buying StarOffice, it's likely that Google will give away some or all of the On2 technology.

Despite being based on technology that is nearly a decade old, Theora is already fairly competitive [mozillazine.org] for web video. (Theora is better than H.263, which has actually been used for years, so it's difficult to argue that Theora is not usable for web video.) Now imagine that Theora gets the best technology bits from a modern On2 codec, and integrates those, such that Theora really is as good as H.264, or even better.

Now imagine that this improved Theora is bundled with Google Chrome and Firefox, bundled with Android, and bundled with Google Chrome OS. Within a few years, Theora could become firmly established everywhere as a baseline standard that anyone can use.

Google likes things that make it easier for Google's customers to use Google's services. They like their customers not being locked into proprietary technologies not owned by Google. It will be impossible for Google to take the market away from H.264, but it is very possible that they could make sure their customers can always easily access their services.

Note that this scenario utterly depends on the new Theora being free software. Google could try to sell a proprietary On2 codec and gain a significant market share; well, if they try it, all I can say is "good luck with that." It's hard to push out an established standard; to do it, you need to be significantly better, not just a little bit better. Better technology, with Google behind it, completely free (and with no need to even keep track of how many codecs you ship out) might succeed.

steveha

It's about silicon (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 5 years ago | (#28962601)

such that Theora really is as good as H.264, or even better.

H.264 has a major advantage - implementation in silicon (hardware acceleration).

Google owning On2, and convincing vendors that YouTube on GoogleOS on Google Devices is going to need silicon, providing purchasing commitments, and having the team onboard that knows how to do things like re-write the codec for devices without FPU's can create the necessary momentum to bury the MPEGLA. Steve Jobs did us a short-term favor a few years back on h.264, but the non-free aspect of that is turning around to bite us now.

I'm working on a project that could really use hw-accelerated free codecs and the current tech is a patent minefield developers are afraid to step into. Send me a beta test unit, OK guys?

Question... (2, Insightful)

mmaniaci (1200061) | more than 5 years ago | (#28962163)

How is a company that makes video codecs worth $106.5 M? I for one am very confused.

And for God's sake please give me a Slashdot 1.0 theme! I can't take this JavaScript-laden hell.

This is a big money saving move. (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 5 years ago | (#28962397)

106.5 million? Look how little that is compared to the amount of money they'd lose, licensing H.264!

VP8 should give similar results to H.264 as used on Youtube. (Lots of quality enhancing features turned off to speed up encoding)

Somewhat OT: Chrome beta "Even More" section (0, Offtopic)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 5 years ago | (#28962471)

I was hoping to see a Slashdot article on the latest Chrome beta, but that's probably a bit much. So can someone tell me what they think will show up in the new "Even More" section of the Chrome browser's New Tab screen?

In 3.0.195.4, the thumbnails have been rearranged (2 rows, 4 cols). Along the bottom is "Recent Activities", which includes closed windows/tabs and downloads. And next to that is "Even More". The content of that box is the simple text, "What will we put here?" My guess: targeted advertising, but I wonder if they've got something else up their sleeve?

(FWIW: the Incognito "new tab" is still nice 'n blank, except for the obvious warning against issues like "people standing behind you".)

On2? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28962971)

Personally, I would have spent my money on at least Onlogn stuff.

No, I didn't read the summary, what of it?

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