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Five Years of YouTube and Forced Evolution

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the court-of-public-opinion dept.

Google 329

NakNak writes to mention that the DailyMaverick has a feature looking back at five years of YouTube, some of the massive changes that have been forced through as a result of its overwhelming popularity, and what changes might be necessary going forward. "Google, which bought YouTube less than two years after it was founded for what was then considered outrageously expensive $1.65 billion, does not want Microsoft or Apple (or anybody else) to own the dominant video format. So it has become the biggest early tester of HTML5. Your browser doesn't support HTML5? Google launches its own browser, Chrome. Need to use Internet Explorer at work because that's all your IT department supports? Google launches a Chrome framework that effectively subverts IE and makes it HTML5-compatible. The final blow will be the day that YouTube switches off Flash and starts streaming only to HTML5 browsers. On that day all browsers will be HTML5 compatible or they will perish in the flames of user outrage."

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329 comments

Perish (3, Funny)

Lije Baley (88936) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149056)

Yes, perish for lack of Flash, just like the Iphone is now.

Re:Perish (4, Interesting)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149146)

Name a popular flash-only site than a majority of iPhone users visit on a regular basis on their desktop or laptop.

YouTube works on iPhone, and Safari for iPhone supports HTML5. From an industry perspective, iPhone's lack of Flash is a *good* thing. From a personal standpoint, as an iPhone user, its a small negative - something that would be nice, but to be honest, I don't really miss.

Re:Perish (0)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149316)

>Name a popular flash-only site than a majority of iPhone users visit on a regular basis on their desktop or laptop.

Newgrounds. Vimeo. Viddler. and the dozens of flash gaming sites.

>as an iPhone user, its a small negative

Only because youve drunk so much of the koolaid and so used to be roughed up by corporations that you have no idea what its like to have a phone platform that does more.

Re:Perish (1)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149556)

"From a personal standpoint" - I don't use the above sites. That's not koolaid, that's a personal usage pattern.

I wouldn't recommend an iPhone to someone who needed one of the above sites. Indeed, I wouldn't recommend AT&T at all - their network isn't up to it in my area.

Re:Perish (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149646)

Of course you dont. Its a chicken and egg problem. Why would anyone send you a link to Vimeo knowing it wont work on your iphone? People know youtube has a special deal with Apple and a special app, so they'll send those links out. Its corporatist control and the opposite of open.

Re:Perish (reasons why flash is not supported) (4, Insightful)

AndrewStephens (815287) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149620)

The video sites I will give you (although if they really wanted to be on the iPhone they would just make the original h264 files available) but people bemoaning the lack of flash games on the iPhone are missing an important point - none of the existing flash games would work anyway!

The iPhone doesn't have a keyboard and (even worse) has no mouse. These two facts alone mean that the vast majority of game would not work. Even games that use the mouse purely for pointing would run into problems, since tapping with your finger is much less precise than using a mouse pointer. In addition, on the iPhone you effectively have multiple pointing devices - how would current Flash apps handle that?

For a quick demo of why sites like newsgrounds will never work on the iPhone, resize your browser window to 480*320 (or 320*480 since that is more usual) and visit your favourite gaming site. Now set your mouse pointer to a big white blob instead of an arrow to similar tapping with a large figertip. Remember to stop playing after 45 minutes to simulate the battery drain. See how much fun you have.

Re:Perish (reasons why flash is not supported) (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149678)

It should be obvious that this is a chicken and egg problem. There arent flash apps for the iphone hosted on newgrounds BECAUSE IT DOESNT SUPPORT FLASH. Support it, and they will appear overnight with the proper navigational elements.

Re:Perish (4, Insightful)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149636)

Only because youve drunk so much of the koolaid and so used to be roughed up by corporations that you have no idea what its like to have a phone platform that does more

First off, I'll admit that I generally like Apple's products since they different parts are well-integrated (just to get that part out of the way, if that makes you think I'm a fanboy or that I've "drunk the kool-aid" then so be it).

Second, I've used and owned other smartphones that were much more capable than the iPhone on paper but which with real-world usage fell flat because of massive user interface issues, applications that leaked memory and general instability that made any perceived stability issues with the iPhone seem completely insignificant in comparison.

An example of this is the touchscreen on a friend's "high end" Nokia (I think) smartphone which together with the general UI lag makes using the phone painful, precision was so poor it was almost painful.

A second example would be my gf's phone (I can't remember the brand or model, the models are all 32789XS91080++ TouchTurboDeluxe gibberish to me), I experimented a bit with the UI and concluded that from the default "home" screen it took about half a dozen keypresses to get to the browser, once the browser was running I had to open a menu, scroll down to the "I want to visit a website" option and scroll down to the "I want to enter an URL manually" option before I could enter an URL. And that was the fastest path I could find. As a comparison, on an iPhone entering an URL involves tapping Safari, tapping the address bar and typing in the URL. It's hardly revolutionary but at least it's done right.

As for flash, the only times I miss that is when I stumble across some website designed by some incompetent hack who thinks the only way to do menu rollover effects is with flash...

/Mikael

Re:Perish (5, Insightful)

Abalamahalamatandra (639919) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149340)

I'm not an Apple fanboi, but I will say: the problem is not that the iPhone doesn't support Flash, the problem is that Flash, as a proprietary overlay to the open Web, even exists.

I spend most of my time on my desktop using NoScript to actively BLOCK Flash, and grudgingly allow it to run when I have no other alternative to get the information I need. Flash support on a mobile phone without the means to easily block it via a permissions structure is an absolute battery and usability nightmare waiting to happen.

Open Web alternative to Newgrounds? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149408)

the problem is not that the iPhone doesn't support Flash, the problem is that Flash, as a proprietary overlay to the open Web, even exists.

gad_zuki! makes a good point [slashdot.org] : Is the open Web capable of delivering an experience analogous to the Flash animations and games seen at, say, Newgrounds?

Re:Open Web alternative to Newgrounds? (1)

tagno25 (1518033) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149518)

Yes, HTML5 can replace Flash for almost ALL uses, including games

Re:Open Web alternative to Newgrounds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31149608)

Wow, that's really encouraging.

So once HTML5 is used all over, we'll get to see some really loud and intrusive advertisements? That's fantastic! I can't wait!

And what about the weekly exploit or two? Flash has never missed a beat. Will browsers implementing HTML5 expose us to at least the same level of risk that Flash does?

Will HTML5 also cause my browser (even if it's just a sandboxed tab) to crash several times per day, like Flash does now? I sure hope so, otherwise the experience just wouldn't be the same.

Re:Open Web alternative to Newgrounds? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149750)

Uh-huh, because the html5 developers aren't deaf to that segment of the content production market. 10 years ago, no open standard was anywhere near flash.

Re:Perish (1)

wintercolby (1117427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149498)


But Flash is an amazing platform enabling us to view and use content on the web . . . that we used to be able to download or purchase for fat clients on MUCH slower systems with less memory. In fact even all the embedded proprietary formats which required us to have other applications installed used fewer resources. We can thank Adobe for the latest push of demand for memory and processor cores.

Re:Perish (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31149758)

"I'm not an Apple fanboi..."

Yes you are, and I am a PC.

Re:Perish (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149458)

From an industry perspective, iPhone's lack of Flash is a *good* thing.

Yes, but "industry perspective" isn't the one paying for the iPhones.

This is why I still hung on to some of my Apple shares when I cashed most of it in a few years back. You've got to hand it to a company that can engender the kind of true-believerness that would say "No, really, I for one am glad it doesn't have an SD slot or longer battery life. If Steve Jobs wanted us to have unlimited storage, he would have provided for it, and who are we to question the Steve? His ways are not our ways."

Uh-huh.

Re:Perish (1)

Lije Baley (88936) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149478)

All I know is that my wife (a non-technical, meat and potatoes user) is constantly whining about not being able to get what she wants due to lack of Flash or PDF reader. Yes, I know she can GET a PDF reader, but she doesn't understand what Apps are, let alone how to pick one from a multitude options. She is simply frustrated because the phone is supposed to "surf the web", but it doesn't do it like her desktop machine, and having experienced the portability of the phone, the desktop machine doesn't "do it" for her either.

Re:Perish (1)

pantherace (165052) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149178)

As it is, you can view youtube on the iphone. If you couldn't, I suspect that the iphone would have gotten a lot of rage. (Don't know about other video sites)

I suspect that the vast majority of what people do with flash (intentionally, I'm not counting ads) is view video. Oh sure, there are stupid little flash games, but things like that existed before, they were Java though. True, some websites are flash only, but frankly those sites should probably die. (At least that's everyone's hope.) Indeed, trading the lack of flash games, for basically not having to deal with any of the flash ads, is essentially an ad-blocker.

Re:Perish (1)

cupantae (1304123) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149274)

Perish for a lack of HTML5 support, my friend. Try again, maybe?

Besides, the iPhone is a special case. If there are several roughly equivalent browsers for the SAME platform, then of course the ones with hugely reduced functionality will die off.

Thanks to YouTube (5, Funny)

boudie2 (1134233) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149100)

Checking today there are 3,180 videos matching the term "lighting farts". That and people reviving Rick Astley's career. It's a fun diversion, but you really have to wonder. About civilization.

Re:Thanks to YouTube (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149470)

"Checking today there are 3,180 videos matching the term "lighting farts"."

The real question on my mind and alot of other /.'rs is of those 3,180 videos matching the term "lighting farts" how many combined views do they have?

Armed with that knowledge then and only then would I really begin to wonder about civilization.

Re:Thanks to YouTube (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149610)

From 1608:

The Censure of the Parliament Fart

Never was bestowed such an art
Upon the tuning of a fart.
Downe came grave auntient Sir John Cooke
And redd his message in his booke.
Fearie well, Quoth Sir William Morris, Soe:
But Henry Ludlowes Tayle cry'd Noe.
Up starts one fuller of devotion
The Eloquence; and said a very ill motion
Not soe neither quoth Sir Henry Jenkin
The Motion was good; but for the stincking
Well quoth Sir Henry Poole it was a bold tricke
To Fart in the nose of the bodie pollitique
Indeed I confesse quoth Sir Edward Grevill
The matter of it selfe was somewhat uncivill
Thanke God quoth Sir Edward Hungerford
That this Fart proved not a Turdd

I forget, but (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149492)

Wasn't it John Adams who said:

"I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to make fart lighting and Rick-roll videos."

.h26x a stumbling point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31149106)

It's my understanding that the codec used by youtube w/h264 is incompatible with Firefox for licensing reasons. True?

Re:.h26x a stumbling point? (1)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149156)

I believe so - and the Mozilla folks are pushing for Ogg/Theora as a standard format.

Re:.h26x a stumbling point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31149246)

And they are about to find out that the public sees right through their "new clothes".

Re:.h26x a stumbling point? (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149260)

Except for the fact that H.264 is hardware decoded on a lot of mobile devices.

Re:.h26x a stumbling point? (1)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149362)

That's not a huge stumbling block, AFAIK. There is no reason you couldn't hardware decode Ogg/Theora, and I would be willing to bet the support would be there if it became the standard.

I admit I'm a bit out of my league on this part though. I'm a web developer, this discussion is a bit closer to bare metal than I'm used to.

Re:.h26x a stumbling point? (-1, Troll)

macs4all (973270) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149270)

I believe so - and the Mozilla folks are pushing for Ogg/Theora as a standard format.

That's a JOKE, right? Because, outside the walls of /. virtually no one has heard of Ogg anything, and would probably think it was a character from LOTR or something...

Re:.h26x a stumbling point? (1)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149302)

But they've heard of h.264?

The target audience here isn't the general public, its the standards organization and the browser development management teams.

Call H.264 "the Blu-ray codec" (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149434)

The public has heard of Blu-ray. The codec currently used by YouTube is the same codec used by newer Blu-ray Disc releases.

Re:.h26x a stumbling point? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31149618)

You don't seem to get it. It's too late for ogg. H.264 is already in EVERYTHING. Your blu-ray player plays h.264, your ipod plays it, your psp plays it, your game console plays it, the graphics card in your PC plays it, your mobile phones play it. On top of that, H.264 has significantly better video quality, and will be free until at least 2015, and I'm willing to bet it will continue to be free after that.
This isn't just about HTML5. The war is already over. Wishing that devices will add support for theora at this point is like wishing that mp3 players would add support for vorbis. No one cares anymore, except about 0.1% of the population.

Re:.h26x a stumbling point? (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149668)

Well, the average "soccer mom"/"joe sixpack" may not have heard of h.264 but there are definitely a lot more users out there who know that h.264 is a video codec than there are users who know that Ogg Theora is a video codec (admittedly those who know of h.264 through warez probably think it's called x264 but that's still a lot more knowledge of h.264 than knowledge about Ogg Theora).

/Mikael

Re:.h26x a stumbling point? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149326)

What other option do they have?
h.264 patents make it incompatible with a whole host of open source licenses.

Re:.h26x a stumbling point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31149730)

That must be the reason why there aren't any open source h.264 encoders or decoders available.
Oh, wait...

Re:.h26x a stumbling point? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31149334)

And that matters because ...? It's not like the average Joe would know what H.264 is either... or PNG, or CSS, or a ton of other basic web technologies.

Re:.h26x a stumbling point? (1)

General Wesc (59919) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149336)

Not many people have a clue what 'H.264' is either. You're lucky if they know what 'Flash' is.

Re:.h26x a stumbling point? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31149496)

Like my boss, who owns an ISP, that does not know the difference between Java, JavaScript, and Flash (he calls them all Java). Or the difference between Limewire, Bittorrent, EDonkey, and any other P2P protocol (he calls them all Bittorrent).

Re:.h26x a stumbling point? (4, Interesting)

Rashkae (59673) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149300)

Well, close. Firefox will be unable to include the decoding of h264 right into the browser. But there is already work underway to simply hand over the video to an underlaying OS system, (Gstreamer for Linux, as example.). It will then be up to the user to aquire the required codecs and what not, which can't legally be distributed in North America as entirely free software, (but in practice, patents have never stopped free software before, only creates annoying red tape.) Gstream and ffmpeg have been able to handle h264 for longer than I remember, and I don't expect that to change at all. It's probably a good thing that Firefox will use existing software rather than creating yet another decoder to deal with.

or..... (4, Interesting)

tacokill (531275) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149134)

On that day all browsers will be HTML5 compatible or they will perish in the flames of user outrage

Or, like the thousands of examples that came before.....people will simply go to another website that does not have such requirements.

But don't let me rain on your parade.

Re:or..... (4, Interesting)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149226)

What other sites have content like You Tube?

Seriously? Where else can I go for similar content?

and this is how google wins (5, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149136)

some business school moron could have said "hey, why don't we leverage our power and force a proprietary format on consumers, and they will be our captive audience"

like microsoft

like sony

etc

has any of it worked? no

for all the anxiety about google's increasing power, as long google does something like this: actively undermine and destroy a closed format in favor of an open one, then the consumer wins, google wins, other companies win, progress and innovation wins, and shortsighted greedy assholes who try to manipulate market inefficiencies in their favor lose (i'm looking at you, music and other media companies). in this context, at least, google really is "doing no evil"

Re:and this is how google wins (4, Insightful)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149320)

for all the anxiety about google's increasing power, as long google does something like this: actively undermine and destroy a closed format in favor of an open one

You mean like how Google actively undermines H.264?

Yes. I am very impressed that they are actively undermining H.264.

Definitely it can be said that Google actively undermines H.264.

Re:and this is how google wins (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31149446)

H.264 is a open standard, patent encumbered, but open, with several available decoders/encoders.
Compare to flash, where theres ONE implementation, by the same company writing the "standard", and licensing prohibits writing a compatible decoder...

Re:and this is how google wins (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31149676)

Good points, all. But my condolences to your "Shift" key -- oh, and the period, too. I wish them both a speedy recovery.

In case you are still able to cut and paste, please feel free to borrow some of mine in the meantime:

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ .....
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ .....
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ .....

life in the old browsers yet (5, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149140)

On that day all browsers will be HTML5 compatible or they will perish in the flames of user outrage

While youtube is nice for idling away some downtime, it's not the internet-dominating force this article makes out. If it disappeared tomorrow, than apart from instantly increasing corporate productivity and allowing children everywhere to get their homework done on time, there wouldn't be so much of a change.

There are also (sit down, this might be a bit of a shock) lots and lots of people who rarely, if ever visit youtube. For them, it's existence or change in the tech. it needs will make no difference at all - if their old browsers fail I'm sure they find other things to do on the internet.

While I'm sure youtube will keep going - for some time at least, and will change more over time there's nothing life changing about it.

Re:life in the old browsers yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31149324)

There are also (sit down, this might be a bit of a shock) lots and lots of people who rarely, if ever visit youtube.

Just like there are also lots and lots of people who can't get anything better than dialup. I've had friends of mine ask me why they never get YouTube to work only for me to have to explain why their dialup connection won't handle it properly. Give the vast majority of the US a proper internet connection and I bet the number of people not using YouTube would shrink a good deal.

Re:life in the old browsers yet (2, Insightful)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149430)

You're not really making a distinction between people who are surfing the tubes for recreation and people who are working or studying. If you're just kicking around, then youtube and co. are certainly optional stops. But it's also the prime gathering point for stuff like TED talks, "man on the street" video reporting, Sagan mashups, HOWTO videos, out of circulation educational films, and so forth. It's not really that important to have all of this hosted by YouGoogly, but it is nice to have one place to start your searching.

As far as "life changing" is concerned, I think would depend on if you're in the "funny cat" camp or the "last lecture" camp. You may, in fact, be doing it wrong.

Re:life in the old browsers yet (4, Insightful)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149568)

"If it disappeared tomorrow, than apart from instantly increasing corporate productivity"

Really? My employer uses YouTube a lot. We make YouTube videos of customer recommendations. Having an engineer gush about all of the time he saves with our product makes a very effective sales tool.

A lot of companies use YouTube for instructional videos for their products. Why bother with complex printed directions when you can watch a real live human do it?

Really you should not dismiss the value of something just because YOU can't figure out how to do something useful with it.

Re:life in the old browsers yet (1, Informative)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149570)

it's not the internet-dominating force this article makes out.

Did you miss the part about networks being overwhelmed and major fight over who pays for the bandwidth? That's pretty major. Maybe not "dominating", but that's your word.

If it disappeared tomorrow, than apart from instantly increasing corporate productivity and allowing children everywhere to get their homework done on time, there wouldn't be so much of a change.

Have you been following the news at all over the last two years? Just a few days ago, the FDIC felt compelled to rebut corruption allegations in a viral video. Other such videos has successfully promoted or destroyed movies, more or less put ACORN out of business, and a lot more. There are niche video stars who now make a living doing with schticks that nobody would have heard of without YouTube. Meanwhile, TV ratings continue to shrink...

There are also (sit down, this might be a bit of a shock) lots and lots of people who rarely, if ever visit youtube.

So? There are also lots of people who still don't have cell phones. In both cases, it's a reasonable choice, but it's not the way things are trending.

Re:life in the old browsers yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31149672)

If it disappeared tomorrow, than apart from instantly increasing corporate productivity and allowing children everywhere to get their homework done on time,

I know this was just a tangential joke, but I think it's worth pointing out that the lack of YouTube wouldn't mean anything with respect to productivity. People spend a certain amount of their day relaxing/spacing-out. Whether this time is "necessary" to remain happy, focused and productive, or whether it is an "unavoidable" aspect of human laziness is debatable but largely irrelevant. This "time wastage" will always happen. If it were not YouTube it would just be something else (trip to the water cooler, doing a crossword in the paper, etc.).

As for whether or not YouTube is an Internet-dominating force, I do agree that the world would go on without it. But that's largely because other video sites would grow to fill the vacuum left by it. Again whether it's truly good/necessary or just wasteful/unavoidable is irrelevant: people will want to watch/make/trade silly videos online.

But until YouTube actually disappears, it holds considerable mindshare and thus considerable clout. If YouTube makes a change in the way it works, you can bet that browser makers will take notice and adjust their product so that their users can keep accessing the site. It's not like YouTube has unilateral control over the evolution of Internet standards, but they do have a large enough user base that they can have a strong effect on how browsers work.

Re:life in the old browsers yet (1)

complete loony (663508) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149688)

How many of those businesses that have forced their users to remain on IE6 have also blocked youtube?

Re:life in the old browsers yet (1)

General Wesc (59919) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149714)

While youtube is nice for idling away some downtime, it's not the internet-dominating force this article makes out. If it disappeared tomorrow, than apart from instantly increasing corporate productivity and allowing children everywhere to get their homework done on time, there wouldn't be so much of a change. There are also (sit down, this might be a bit of a shock) lots and lots of people who rarely, if ever visit youtube.

If YouTuber viewers discover that YouTube now works on Perfectly Good Browser and not on their current browser, some of them will switch browsers, at least in their home environment. 100%? No, but when just 10% = 10 000 000 people [comscore.com] , it's hardly a trivial issue. Okay, maybe not a 'perish in flames' feature, but it is something of note.

If Youtube ever shuts off flv streaming... (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149144)

There won't be enough waaaambulances in the entire world to handle the mass-casualty incident at Adobe HQ...

Re:If Youtube ever shuts off flv streaming... (1)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149490)

They won't. TFA is just extrapolating in fictitious directions to get attention (what else is new). They'd damage the most valuable thing they have: their massive audience. How did people react when they started pulling support for IE6? Multiply that by a few thousands.
It makes a nice story about how Google would "force their way" onto the industry, but it doesn't work like that. They care, dearly, about what their users do/think/behave, and pissing them off by doing something that the vast majority of users won't understand the reason for is something they would never do.

Re:If Youtube ever shuts off flv streaming... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149658)

Oh, I agree that they would have absolutely no reason to do that(If nothing else, my understanding is that recent versions of flash can act as a not-especially-competent h.264 player, so there wouldn't even be server-side storage concerns).

I just find imaging Adobe's reaction to be highly amusing. Ever since Apple snubbed them for the iPhone, they've tarted up their proprietary runtime as the "Open screen project" and emitted a steady stream of sad noises about anybody who thinks that Flash could possibly be a bad thing(merely opening the website of said "open screen project" caused both cores of my machine to peg, so I have zero sympathy). Losing a high-profile case like Youtube would likely increase their whining considerably, though I see it as an extraordinarily unlikely event.

User outrage more likely to be at Google (3, Insightful)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149150)

On that day all browsers will be HTML5 compatible or they will perish in the flames of user outrage

Most users don't know and don't care about the standards wars. What's more likely to happen is:

  • User has been using IE and watching YouTube for umpteen number of years
  • Google shuts out Flash and IE, only supporting HTML 5
  • User notices YouTube doesn't work anymore
  • User gets angry at YouTube, not IE. MS isn't the one that changed something, Google is.
  • Google backpedals in a way reminiscent of New Coke in 1986

Re:User outrage more likely to be at Google (5, Insightful)

inanet (1033718) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149266)

User sees link "Can't see the video? Click here to remedy and download Google Chrome" user downloads and installs Google Chrome. Microsoft cries in pain. Users these days are a good deal smarter than they used to be, if someone is smart enough to install flash, they are smart enough to install Chrome.. for the most part, or they will have a kid / friend who will do it for them.

Chrome Frame (4, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149312)

User gets angry at YouTube, not IE

"YouTube no longer uses Flash. Now we use Chrome Frame to provide you with new features. Click here to install Chrome Frame." The user response really isn't that much different from the "Your Flash Player is too old" that YouTube started serving once Nintendo finally upgraded Wii Internet Channel from Flash 7.

Re:Chrome Frame (1)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149580)

Sure, and piss off IT support all over the world. Companies that lock their employees in IE don't let them install plugins apart from a pre-approved list, which is usually installed in advanced. They have the corporate world to deal with, and they won't be as easy to convince as average Joe will.

Re:Chrome Frame (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149694)

Why are corporate employees watching Youtube at work? Obviously there may be some useful technical talks and the like, but in most companies very few people have a legitimate reason for doing so.

And any company which locks their employees into using IE probably deserves everything they get.

Re:User outrage more likely to be at Google (2, Insightful)

Sinning (1433953) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149364)

Or..
  • Google notifies users to download an HTML5 compatible browser.
  • User moves to Chrome and never looks back to IE.

It may actually benefit Google to give users a reason to switch to Chrome.

Re:User outrage more likely to be at Google (1)

lordsid (629982) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149534)

Are you trying to say Google is afraid their trademark on youtube will run out and come out with NewYouTube in response?

Because otherwise you epically fail at analogies.

I'm trying to see what's wrong with this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31149154)

I'm trying to see what's wrong with this scenario, but I cannot. Flash needs to die.

"Accurate" Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31149158)

"HTML5. Your browser doesn't support HTML5? Google launches its own browser, Chrome." ...if you happen to have the Google Chrome Frame extension installed and are using Internet Explorer and opted in to HTML 5.

But why let details bother you?

Google should work on Google stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31149168)

Google should work on Google stuff instead of attacking Microsoft at every turn. Apple tried this for a long time. Apple attacked Nintendo, Playstation, AOL, Microsoft, etc...

When Apple finally quit the bologna and concentrated on things their customers wanted they did MUCH better (iPod, iMac, iPhone).

Maybe Google should worry about their customers instead of Microsoft?

I know focusing on customer needs is an INSANE concept to big companies today so I apologize for saying something so nutty and far-fetched.

Re:Google should work on Google stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31149594)

Google should work on Google stuff instead of attacking Microsoft at every turn.

They are just giving a nudge to the slowest dinosaur.

When that day comes... (0, Offtopic)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149206)

Many Shuvs and Zuuls will know what it is like to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you!

Cart or Horse first? (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149216)

" The final blow will be the day that YouTube switches off Flash and starts streaming only to HTML5 browsers. On that day all browsers will be HTML5 compatible or they will perish in the flames of user outrage."

Except, YouTube won't turn off Flash until a super-majority of users have HTML-5 compliant browsers. (Actually, since a super-majority is usually considered to be 60% or 66%, that probably still wouldn't be enough - I wouldn't shut off any potential customers until I was north of 90% deployment, though Google may surprise me and throw the switch a bit before that). No business that hopes to succeed just shuts off the ability for any significant portion of their customer base to consume their product.

That's what Chrome Frame is for (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149342)

YouTube won't turn off Flash until a super-majority of users have HTML-5 compliant browsers.

That's one reason why Google made Chrome Frame: to make every copy of IE for Windows that's not completely locked down into an HTML5 compliant web browser.

Re:Cart or Horse first? (1)

Etherized (1038092) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149450)

You're right, of course. Google will continue to support Flash in some fashion for quite a while; they can't really afford not to. If Youtube blocks flash, some other site that provides a flash option will pick up the slack, and youtube perishes in the flames of user outrage.

There's nothing particularly unique about Youtube, except that it was the first and currently largest site to "just work" with video clips. Let's not forget that Flash, for all its sins, is what even made this possible to begin with.

I personally suspect that the benefits of HTML5 will be very clear to many users, especially on mobile devices where Flash simply is not viable. It should be a case of superior technology ultimately winning out, just as long as the word is actually spread (and it's in google's interest to spread it).

Youtube currently gives you the option to "opt in" to HTML5, and that's excellent. In the future, they may give you an option to "opt in" to Flash, and they'll tell you that performance may suffer for it. They don't really need to kill Flash entirely, because Flash is good enough at killing itself.

Re:Cart or Horse first? (3, Insightful)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149476)

Google will probably throw up an info bar a bit before the switchover if your browser is not HTML5 compatible, warning that YouTube is dropping support for said browser and so get a new one if you wish to keep using YouTube... it would have a link leading to a list of HTML5 compatible browsers you can install such as Firefox, Chrome, ChromeFrame, Safari, etc. Or just ChromeFrame, for IE users, though I think even now Wave offers browser suggestions too as well as ChromeFrame.

HTML5 Video: A big No-No (1, Insightful)

fysdt (1597143) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149306)

I don't think HTML5 video will ever be successful, flash video/flv is very dominant.

Re:HTML5 Video: A big No-No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31149412)

And here's a good example of how anti-mods would be useful. This was the exact opposite of insightful.

Re:HTML5 Video: A big No-No (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31149442)

Y2K called and left the following message:

I don't think Flash video/flv will ever be successful. RealMedia is very dominant.

IE6 rules! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31149366)

Management is going to be VERY happy that youtube will stop working with older web browsers. User productivity is going to skyrocket.

Ok, so that makes Three... (1)

macs4all (973270) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149390)

Apple, Google, and now Microsoft [engadget.com] (among others) have announced they won't be supporting Flash.

Think it's not doomed now?

The industry verdict on Flash: You have wasted too many CPU cycles and therefore must DIE!

Good riddance. There is absolutely no reason why Flash should be such a resource hog. Adobe has become even fatter and more lazy than even Microsoft, and is about to receive a rude awakening (just like MS has been getting from Apple for the past 10 years or so).

Re:Ok, so that makes Three... (1)

fysdt (1597143) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149536)

Why would Microsoft for example use flash when they could use silverlight?

Re:Ok, so that makes Three... (2, Interesting)

macs4all (973270) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149690)

Why would Microsoft for example use flash when they could use silverlight?

To keep people from whining (like they do about Apple's iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad) that it doesn't support Flash, and therefore is unworthy.

Having said that, I agree with you that in MS' case, it could be a Silverlight ploy; but, since they also axed Multitasking in Windows Mobile 7 at the same time (like Apple's iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. Hmmm...), methinks its more a problem (like Apple realized) of battery life, heat, and poor performance (this time), rather than them trying to push Silverlight.

Even marketing must sometimes bow to the laws of physics.

Arrogance... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149400)

... the reason flash became so popular was because there was nothing better.

I think anyone who thinks HTML5 video is going to displace flash has to look to how MP3 was not displaced by better formats like AAC, OGG, etc, etc.

Re:Arrogance... (1)

TClevenger (252206) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149558)

I think anyone who thinks HTML5 video is going to displace flash has to look to how MP3 was not displaced by better formats like AAC, OGG, etc, etc.

Actually, that's EXACTLY why Flash will be replaced by HTML5. MP3 support is basically built into every media player out there, while AAC and OGG aren't. If HTML5 is built into every browser, but Flash requires a download (and frequent updates because of security holes), HTML5 will win in the long run.

But which codec? (1)

R.Mo_Robert (737913) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149432)

The bigger issue is not Flash or HTML5, it's which codec implementers of HTML5 will choose to support. Mozilla, for good reasons (IMHO), is not willing to support H.264, but that seems to be the direction YouTube is heading. But as good and open as Theora is, I think don't believe there is any hardware with a Theora accelerator (yet?).

In any case, some support browsers both H.264 and Ogg Theora, some support only one, and we all know Microsoft is unlikely to support either any time soon.

Re:But which codec? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31149738)

Mozilla, for good reasons (IMHO), is not willing to support H.264, but that seems to be the direction YouTube is heading. But as good and open as Theora is, I think don't believe there is any hardware with a Theora accelerator (yet?).

You can make use of the DSP that's used for H.264 acceleration and use it for Theora acceleration or any other similar workload. That's what's been done here:

http://www.schleef.org/blog/20...-c64x-dsp-and-omap3/ [schleef.org]

As mentioned in the post, that work is broadly applicable to Nokia's N series of phones, the Motorola Droid, and the Palm Pre. There are millions of devices in the field today which are capable of accelerated Theora playback. All they need is the software.

See also Christopher Blizzard's post on the importance of open formats to the future of the web:

http://www.0xdeadbeef.com/webl...anding-with-the-web/ [0xdeadbeef.com]

In the comments Christopher Montgomery from Xiph.org, the foundation behind Theora, says:

"As for the chicken/egg problem of hardware support, several big commercial groups are already scrambling to get over it, partly because full Theora support in hardware is so much simpler than full h264 support. It’s a tiny fraction of the complexity. You practically get that many transistors for free in the today’s average cardboard cereal box. Can’t say more– NDAs. But that’s OK, it will be reality or not soon enough."

As you say, Microsoft's lack of HTML5 support will probably be a problem for some time. Fortunately, it can be worked around with Cortado [theora.org] or Highgate media suite's Theora for Silverlight [arstechnica.com]

They need to fix the site first. (1)

Doug52392 (1094585) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149460)

What use would HTML5 have if Google insists on streaming crystal-clear high-definition unskippable ads to me in a few seconds, but streams the video to me bit-by-bit to the point where it takes five minutes to watch a one minute HD video.

Re:They need to fix the site first. (2, Interesting)

macs4all (973270) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149578)

What use would HTML5 have if Google insists on streaming crystal-clear high-definition unskippable ads to me in a few seconds, but streams the video to me bit-by-bit to the point where it takes five minutes to watch a one minute HD video.

Boy, I couldn't agree more with that!

I recently switched the "Try HTML5" thing on, and I've got to say, they need to assemble and download those clips a helluva lot faster. They've made the site nearly un-fun.

To the point that I'm about ready to "un-volunteer" to be an HTML5 Guinea Pig...

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