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Google To Drop Support For H.264 In Chrome

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the shot-in-the-air dept.

Google 765

Steve writes "Google just made a bold move in the HTML5 video tag battle: even though H.264 is widely used and WebM is not, the search giant has announced it will drop support for the former in Chrome. The company has not done so yet, but it has promised it will in the next couple of months. Google wants to give content publishers and developers using the HTML5 video tag an opportunity to make any necessary changes to their websites."

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Pretty soon... (3, Insightful)

jnpcl (1929302) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842204)

... we will need to have every browser installed, because every other website on the intertubes will be using different technologies that are only supported by one browser.

Re:Pretty soon... (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842234)

Or back to the era of having to install a huge number of plug ins. I'm personally, not happy with this move. H.264 is not a free codec and consequently, you have to pay if you wish to encode content in it or decode content encoded with it. They just are gracious enough not to charge you for streaming it.

Consequently, it's not supported by Firefox natively nor in any other browser that cares about being sued and can't or won't pay.

Re:Pretty soon... (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842294)

Too bad there isn't a fully compatible free alternative [videolan.org] eliminating that single drawback...

Re:Pretty soon... (1)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842356)

Showing my ignorance here, but how does x264 get around the patent scheme of H.264? Would it be possible to do the same to write a decoder that isn't patent in-cumbered?

Re:Pretty soon... (5, Informative)

tweak13 (1171627) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842418)

It doesn't get around it. Unless you live somewhere enlightened enough to not allow software patents, it probably isn't legal to use without a license for the patented tech.

Re:Pretty soon... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34842478)

I think they are going something like:
- Lookout! An H264 patent scheme!
- What?! Well, fuck patents. Let's just go ahead anyway!

Choose your country wisely (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842536)

how does x264 get around the patent scheme of H.264?

By recommending that users emigrate from the United States, South Korea, and other countries whose courts enforce software patents, I presume.

Re:Pretty soon... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34842340)

What makes this decision even more annoying is that Google are part of the H264 patent pool. They have more to lose by removing support for it.

Re:Pretty soon... (4, Informative)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842700)

Sorry, but Google doesn't have any patents in h.264. [wikipedia.org] They had been a solid backer of it, but never had any patents involved in it.

For those curious, the companies that do have patents involved in h.264 are: * Apple Inc. * DAEWOO * Dolby Laboratories Licensing Corporation * Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute * France Télécom, société anonyme * Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V. * Fujitsu Limited * Hitachi, Ltd. * Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. * LG Electronics Inc. * Microsoft Corporation * Mitsubishi Electric Corporation * NTT docomo * Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation * Panasonic Corporation * Robert Bosch GmbH * Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. * Scientific-Atlanta Vancouver Company * Sedna Patent Services, LLC * Sharp Corporation * Siemens AG * Sony Corporation * Ericsson * The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York * Toshiba Corporation * Victor Company of Japan, Limited

Re:Pretty soon... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34842490)

No. We will stay in the current era, where flash is preinstalled. All of your normal h264 sites will continue to work, in flash. This is a genius move on Google's part. All they are forcing to be in WebM are html5 sites. They won't really drop h264 (flash) until html(4?*) dies (or until h264 patent holders decide to start charging out the ass for it, and everybody starts to worship Google for WebM). By attaching h264 to html4/flash, they are ensuring that they both die at the same time.

Have a device that only supports h264 like an iPhone or older Android device? That's no problem! Almost all web sites are still compatible with your outdated device. If you have one that supports WebM though, you have one that fully supports html5!

Sew where this is going? Google can't hope to control video codecs as video codecs, but they can reasonably hope to control html5, and by extension video codecs which are a part of it.

* I think the web is idiotic in general, so I'm not sure if we call it html4 or xhtml or what. Maybe this codec issue is easier for me to understand because I don't give a shit about any of it.

Re:Pretty soon... (4, Interesting)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842632)

Back? Have you ever tried using HTML5 video? It's completely fucking useless.

No, really, it is. OK, first off, we have the codec issue. If you want to support all browsers, you need to encode to the following formats: H.264+AAC, VP8+Vorbis, and Theora+Vorbis. You're stuck with all three if you want to hit all browsers.

Then there's the part where the HTML5 spec forbids allowing JavaScript to fullscreen the video. Which means that you're stuck with either using the lousy solution YouTube uses (blow up the video to screen size, and assume the user can figure out how to fullscreen their browser on their own), or just dropping the feature all together.

Both suck. Users are used to being able to fullscreen the video, and they do NOT want to jump through the two-step hoop just to get fullscreen video.

Of course, most browsers allow the user to fullscreen the video on the context menu. But that's still really a two-step process: right click on the video, and then click on "Full screen." And to add insult to injury, most HTML5 video toolkits manage to block this option anyway by the way they generate their UI. (Including YouTube, in fact.)

So instead, you just use H.264 and a Flash-based player. Now you hit every major browser including IE, you don't have to encode your video three fucking times, and you don't have to have continuously explain the hoops required to fullscreen the video.

But what all this also means is that by ditching H.264, Google really doesn't lose anything anyway: if you were trying to support more than just Chrome and Safari with HTML5, you were already encoding to at least Theora anyway. So all this does is mean that Chrome will now be stuck with the same crappy, blurry Theora video you already had to encode to anyway to support Firefox. Or maybe, if they're lucky, they'll get the WebM video, which while worse than H.264 at the same bitrates, is still better than Theora.

Re:Pretty soon... (3, Interesting)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842542)

As long as the browser allows to save any file it can't read, I have no problem with that. Reading a video is not a browser's job anyway.

Re:Pretty soon... (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842618)

... we will need to have every browser installed, because every other website on the intertubes will be using different technologies that are only supported by one browser.

So pretty soon it will be like 1998 again. Except this time around there are a lot more browsers to choose from / break compatibility with.

Great! Less choice! (2, Insightful)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842212)

Less choice is so much more convenient for me. I love being forced to use Quicktime/Flash/Silverlight to view online video content.

Re:Great! Less choice! (2)

Paralizer (792155) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842388)

Maybe not [ted.com]

Re:Great! Less choice! (4, Funny)

ErikJson (27997) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842528)

What? That page says "Click here to download plugin".

Re:Great! Less choice! (4, Insightful)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842414)

The move is an attempt to force other browsers to adopt WebM. If you want to complain about "Less choice", than you would have the same complaints against MS and Apple browsers.

The thing is, if Google doesn't do this, and allows both formats, they are contributing to the success of H.264, and detracting from the possibilities of success of their WebM.

You, the consumer are caught in yet another standards-war. Which side will you be on?

Re:Great! Less choice! (3, Insightful)

pete_p (70057) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842586)

I'll be on the side of "screw your video, gimmie the transcript"

'course, I'd be on that side regardless of what format the video is encoded in.

Re:Great! Less choice! (5, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842464)

or the reality of "We've decided to stop supporting formats for things that aren't free", would be a more simple answer.

Re:Great! Less choice! (2)

PRMan (959735) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842678)

But then they'd be liars since they're still supporting Flash.

Re:Great! Less choice! (2)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842704)

It is a double standard, but it looks like they took a dose of pragmatism with their idealism on Flash. They support and promote open standards where it is practical (not necessarily not controversial), and use proprietary work when it isn't.

Market Share? (5, Insightful)

JohnG (93975) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842226)

Does Chrome really have the market share required for this move to have any effect on the decisions of web designers?

Re:Market Share? (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842240)

Given how many existing pages and systems dont work with Chrome, I'm gona say "no".

Re:Market Share? (3, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842308)

I use Chrome. I haven't found many sites on the public Internet that don't work with Chrome; mainly a few niche sites that still require IE or ActiveX. Chrome benefits from the fact that it uses the same rendering engine as Apple's Safari.

Re:Market Share? (1)

Yez70 (924200) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842660)

Even PayPal doesn't support Chrome. You can't print PayPal shipping labels at all with that browser - very annoying (to me at least).

Re:Market Share? (1)

AKMask (843456) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842752)

I know im just anonymous guy on the internet who could be lying, but thats worked flawlessly for a year for me on chrome. Perhaps you're running the beta or dev channel?

Re:Market Share? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34842318)

Not being able to paste into a text field with a quote tag in it on Slashdot of all places is a pretty good sign that, no.
I'm not blaming the browser, maybe it's /.s fault, but if /. of all places doesn't care, why would anyone else?

Re:Market Share? (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842364)

Not being able to paste into a text field with a quote tag in it on Slashdot of all places is a pretty good sign that, no.

What the hell are you talking about?

All I use is Chrome, and it works great for Slash Dot, and every other site I use. Pasting isn't a problem.

Re:Market Share? (1)

vbraga (228124) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842408)

  • Write something in the reply box
  • Try pasting something in the box

It wasn't working for a long, long time. I don't have Chrome right here to test if it was corrected.

Re:Market Share? (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842502)

Fuck you, it works!
Fuck you, it works!
Fuck you, it works!

Hey, I only wrote that once! It works!

Re:Market Share? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34842560)

Fuck you, it works!
Fuck you, it works!
Fuck you, it works!

Hey, I only wrote that once! It works!

Does Chrome really have the market share required for this move to have any effect on the decisions of web designers?

Done with Chrome 8.0.55 on a Mac

Re:Market Share? (1)

binary paladin (684759) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842616)

I have the latest version of Chrome and this is a problem. Any chance you're on a Mac though? (I haven't tested this on the PC.)

Re:Market Share? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34842750)

"Um, seems to work 'here'" and "here", and "here"..oh did I mention "here too"

Re:Market Share? (1)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842636)

When I used Chrome, that was a pretty big deal, at least for Slashdot.

I also got annoyed by the fact that my tabs would keep getting swapped out if they weren't used for a certain amount of time. I know that is "works as designed", since swapping out separate processes that are inactive is supposed to happen and each tab was a process. Still... irritating.

Unfortunately, this looks like another reason I may not bother to install Chrome again. I don't think its market share is enough to move the big players and if I am going to bother looking at a video, I want the thing to work the first time I try and use it.

Its really too bad, because I did try Chrome with an aim to move to something better and faster. There is plenty to dislike about the bloated beast that Firefox has become, but it's not quite the flaming pile of crap that IE is, so I am able to deal with it until something overwhelmingly better comes along.

Or maybe Google and company will win, and it won't matter. Here's hoping.

Re:Market Share? (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842742)

Write something in the reply box
Try pasting something in the box

I have done exactly that for quotes since before Chrome even existed, and switched to Chrome quite a while back. I have never, not even once, had that problem. Ever.

Maybe, just maybe, the problem is you.

Workaround: Open comment in new tab (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842558)

On my copy of Chromium on Ubuntu, pasting into a text field works fine on "/comments.pl" pages, just not on "/story/" pages. Try opening the comment ID (e.g. #34842318) in a new tab before clicking Reply to This. If you still can't get it to work, such as if you're trying to post a top-level comment instead of a reply, try writing your reply in Notepad or Gedit.

Re:Market Share? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842756)

This isn't a Chrome issue ... but it appears to be a Mac (or Mac/Webkit) issue. Safari has the same problem as Chrome - no pasting or spell check corrections once something is in the reply box. I only encounter this on /.

Re:Market Share? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34842332)

I know i have never used Chrome. i am still with IE 8 and Firefox. thats all i need.

Re:Market Share? (5, Informative)

diegocg (1680514) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842390)

Yes, note that firefox doen't ship H.264 either. In Europe, Firefox + Chrome share is 52.69%, IE 37.52%.

Also, Google owns Youtube and is working to make every video available in VP8.

Partner videos are still Flash (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842574)

Google owns Youtube and is working to make every video available in VP8.

Except for the ones that need the Flash-only ad engine because they either are posted by Partners or make fair use of music.

Also look at Youtube and Firefox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34842432)

Firefox and Chrome will probably not support H264. So this is probably a move to back up Firefox. And the move gives a very strong hint about the future of Youtube.

Re:Market Share? (5, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842522)

Does Chrome really have the market share required for this move to have any effect on the decisions of web designers?

Yes. Chrome is rapidly eating market share: in just about 2 years since launch, it's at 13.5%. This is twice the share of Opera and Safari combined. But the decision to drop H.264 doesn't put Chrome "versus the world", as they already had Firefox and Opera in their camp (which also lack H.264). Opera + Safari + Chrome make over 50% of the browsers used today, in market share.

This is substantially different than the previous situation, where Google, Microsoft and Apple all had a H.264 browser, and Firefox looked like the odd one out, while Opera was quietly awaiting the market to decide (they'd have no choice but support H.264, if Firefox did it).

However, the battle is still not over for H.264. The common wisdom is that Google is pushing their WebM standard and that's why they drop H.264. If they really think it's that simple, they have not done their math right.

The growth is with mobile devices. The leaders among them is Apple with iOS, and Google with Android, both of which come with hardware support for H.264, and no WebM hardware support (future support in... theory, but I can say, count Apple out). So what are web content owners left to do? Maybe encode all content twice: WebM and then H.264. Imagine the hassle of, ironically Google's very own, YouTube, having YET another version of every single video they have in their library: FLV, H.264 and now WebM.

No, actually web authors will opt for the simplest choice, that's least amount of work: the same H.264 video everywhere, making use of hardware support for H.264 in mobiles, exposed via HTML5, and ... Flash on the desktop, which also support exactly the same H.264 videos.

So, in attempt to push WebM, Google may end up accidentally (or not..?) cementing Flash's position on the desktop as the video player for the foreseeable future.

I used to think Flash will considerably fade away once IE9 becomes mainstream (which comes with GPU accelerated renderer and H264 support), but now things are suddenly interesting again for Adobe.

Re:Market Share? (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842702)

Opera + Safari + Chrome make over 50% of the browsers used today, in market share.

Clarification, I meant: Opera + Firefox + Chrome here

Re:Market Share? Numbers dont add up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34842746)

Chrome is rapidly eating market share: in just about 2 years since launch, it's at 13.5%. This is twice the share of Opera and Safari combined.

Using your data, Opera + Safari is about 6.75% of market share. But then you pull numbers out of your ass and say...

Opera + Safari + Chrome make over 50% of the browsers used today, in market share.

Using your original figures 13.5 + 6.75 = 20.25% marketshare. WTF dude!?!

Re:Market Share? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34842638)

I will simply mark my websites "Best viewed with Microsoft Internet Explorer or Firefox" and provide download links like in the "old days", and be done with it. And what user cares about native support or is afraid of a plug-in anyway? Or even understands what that means? They'll click on anything if they want to view your content. Chrome was nearly up to 10 percent user share at the end of 2010.

Re:Market Share? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34842764)

Yes; As the second-biggest alternative browser, Chrome just gave WebM a fighting chance. Now 3 of the 5 biggest web browsers (Firefox, Opera, Chrome) are WebM-only. Together they hold 35% of the market. On the H.264 side, Safari holds 6%, and IE9 isn't even out yet. (IE8 is currently at 33%, nearly 2 years after its release.) Depending on how much website/hardware support WebM amasses over the next year or two, this could go either way.

http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2011/01/windows-7-passes-20-percent-chrome-nears-double-digits.ars

Exaggerated Marketing From A Marketing Company (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34842236)

Google wants to give content publishers and developers using the HTML5 video tag an opportunity to make any necessary changes to their websites.

In other words.. Google pretends like Chrome has more than a tiny percentage of browser marketshare. Thus they pretend like what they support or don't support is going to control what websites will offer.. How nice of them.

Re:Exaggerated Marketing From A Marketing Company (4, Informative)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842462)

Either you're trolling, or just ignorant.

Browser market share [wikipedia.org]

Chrome has 13.5%, which is more than Safari, Opera and all mobile browsers combined.
The big 3 browsers are IE, FF, and Chrome, so yes, this is significant.

Re:Exaggerated Marketing From A Marketing Company (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34842666)

Not to mention that Firefox and Opera also lack H.264. Between them, that's pretty darn significant.

Open standards (3, Insightful)

philj (13777) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842250)

I love how they harp on about doing this because they support open standards - They bundle Flash with Chrome!

Double standards or what?

Re:Open standards (5, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842272)

And the open alternative to Flash is....? (Other than the subset provided by HTML5/WebM)

Re:Open standards (3, Informative)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842322)

I think that's the purpose of Gnash [gnu.org] , but I understand that it is woefully inadequate.

Re:Open standards (1)

pohl (872) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842590)

...the absence of Flash.

Re:Open standards (1)

BenoitRen (998927) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842504)

Double standards or what?

No, different situations. Use that head of yours.

Re:Open standards (4, Insightful)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842514)

Google would almost certainly like to stop doing this, but they are practical enough to know that this isn't feasible quite yet. However, if WebM became the de-facto standard for web video then Google would be much closer to being able to realistically ditch Flash. In short, this is clearly a step in the right direction. Unless, of course, you happen to believe that we'd all be better off using H.264 to stream video.

Re:Open standards (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842562)

Re:Open standards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34842680)

No.

Re:Open standards (1)

PRMan (959735) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842710)

Google should make their own OpenFlash. Flash might actually be fast, clean and secure for once.

Chrome+Firefox (5, Interesting)

mrsam (12205) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842284)

Google is obviously betting that WebM in Chrome and Firefox can carry enough weight to compete against H.264 in MSIE, Opera, and Safari.

Google, obviously, has enough web-surfing based data to factor into this judgement call. Whether or not Google is right on this call, one thing is certain: Google wouldn't do this unless they were fairly confident in WebM's chances against the looming patent trolls.

This, I think, is the noteworthy aspect of this bit of news. A patent troll going after WebM will now have to expect to have to deal with Google's well-funded lawyers.

Re:Chrome+Firefox (2)

rahvin112 (446269) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842424)

They might be throwing down the gauntlet so to speak in the attempt to get the patent cartels to stop the FUD and either sue them or shut up. With all the talk 6 month ago it's very likely that patent cartels decided the risks of suing Google over WebM far outweighed any potential benefit. Afterall if they do litigate it and it's decided it doesn't violate the H264 cartel then the cartel is out of business.

Re:Chrome+Firefox (5, Informative)

synnack (1974842) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842454)

Actually, Opera also supports WebM, so using VP8 only will get you Firefox, Chrome and Opera, wich is over 60% of the market.

Re:Chrome+Firefox (3, Insightful)

gsnedders (928327) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842606)

Opera doesn't support H.264, and was the first browser to ship a stable release with WebM support (and, heck, the original browser to ship an experimental video element, with Ogg/Theora/Vorbis).

Re:Chrome+Firefox (3, Insightful)

citizenr (871508) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842626)

against H.264 in MSIE, Opera

Opera never supported h.264, they are against software patents, shame as I likecd h.264 more than webMsomething :(

WebM and Google = Fail (1)

Kenichi Tanaka (1168171) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842288)

This is the dumbest idea ever. I find it hilarious that Google is dropping support for it in their own web browser for a video format that is also sponsored by Google, which they are trying to favor over other formats. I currently run an anime and manga website and I have no plans on converting my video content. Google is taking a big risk because they're risking other website owners to completely abandoning support for this format. I don't have worries about Google switching to WebM and I just don't trust the new format, especially from a company who's making a blatant attempt to monopolize everyone's online experience. The members on my site and my forums continue to support my site and while I do still use the current video formats, I won't be wasting my time with WebM. It's a new format and it's not supported on my DVD and Blu-ray player.

Re:WebM and Google = Fail (0)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842482)

I find it hilarious that Google is dropping support for it in their own web browser for a video format that is also sponsored by Google

I don't recall Google ever claiming to be a sponsor of H.264 [google.com] . I do recall them licensing the technology, that's about it.

currently run an anime and manga website and I have no plans on converting my video content.

You're not anyone major like youtube, hulu, netflix or iplayer, right?

I don't have worries about Google switching to WebM and I just don't trust the new format, especially from a company who's making a blatant attempt to monopolize everyone's online experience.

Who are you again?

The members on my site and my forums continue to support my site and while I do still use the current video formats

k?

I won't be wasting my time with WebM.

Do you want a cookie?

It's a new format and it's not supported on my DVD and Blu-ray player.

Holy shit, a new format came out doesn't work with your legacy hardware and it doesn't work!? How did you ever handle blu-ray if you couldn't play it in your DVD player!?

Seriously, who are you?

You = Fail (2)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842578)

You are the dumbest commented ever. I find it hilarious that you are dropping support for WebM in your own website for a video format that isn't free, which you are trying to favor over other formats. You currently run an anime and manga website, but probably won't for long because you have no plans on getting off your ass and converting your video content. You are taking a big risk because you're risking your website visitors completely abandoning your piece of shit site. I don't have worries about Google switching to WebM and I trust the new format, especially from a company who has done more to push open standards and open source than any other company. The members on your site and forums will not continue to support your site, and while you loaf around in your parent's basement, you'll have no idea why you're losing traffic. It's a new format and since it's not supported on your DVD and Blu-ray player, so it baffles your tiny brain and you don't understand it.

Will they drop Flash, too? (4, Interesting)

FunnyStrange (974343) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842300)

John Gruber over at Daring Fireball [daringfireball.net] asks some very relevant questions about this. The most interesting is: if Google is so concerned about open standards, will they also be dropping the embedded Flash player from Chrome?

Re:Will they drop Flash, too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34842516)

John Gruber is a stupid asshat whose cluelessness is matched by no one save for John C. Dvorak.

Re:Will they drop Flash, too? (2)

BenoitRen (998927) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842540)

if Google is so concerned about open standards, will they also be dropping the embedded Flash player from Chrome?

I'm sure that if you think about this, you know the answer and why. Of course they won't, as Flash is in quite a different ballpark. Flash is widespread on the web, and the user needs it for quite a lot of sites.

The video element, on the other hand, hasn't seen wide adoption yet.

More accurate title? (2)

3.1415926535 (243140) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842306)

Google To Cede Web Video Market To Adobe

Re:More accurate title? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842374)

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Re:More accurate title? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34842466)

How so? Put yourself in the shoes of a website developer. You can either use H.264 with Flash and have it work everywhere except on the iPhone, or use WebM with HTML5 and have it work everywhere except on the majority of browsers.

Re:More accurate title? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34842500)

Flash will support WebM.

Re:More accurate title? (1)

snookiex (1814614) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842728)

Even if Flash didn't support WebM, the question the developers/streaming providers must be asking themselves is how long will it take for the other browsers to support HTML 5 and WebM properly.

Is Google turning into Microsoft? (0)

Required Snark (1702878) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842310)

This is the kind of crap that Microsoft is famous for: nonsupport of common web standards and substituting their own idiosyncratic replacements. For example, IE had no support for SVG, while it was in all other browsers. Supposedly SVG will be in the next major release of IE, but that is because Sivlerlight has not taken over the world like they planned. I expect that the same thing will happen with Chrome/WebM vs. H.264/everyone else. Meanwhile, all web users and content providers suffer because big arrogant players pretend that they can dictate how the Internet works to try and increase their market share.

Missing the open part (4, Informative)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842404)

WebM is opensource (and grants use of its patents for free), so there's a bit of difference here. They're not pushing proprietary technology.

Re:Missing the open part (1)

snookiex (1814614) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842762)

Not to troll, but technically WebM can't be opensource since it's not software. Decoders of the contained elements can.

Re:Is Google turning into Microsoft? (1)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842498)

Every other browser picked a single standard. Up until now, Chrome was the only one that had both (AFAIK). They've decided to put their foot down, put their money where their mouth its, and finally back WebM exclusively like they should have done from the start.

I applaud this move.

Re:Is Google turning into Microsoft? (2)

BenoitRen (998927) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842556)

Except that H.264 is not a web standard at all.

Doing it now (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34842326)

Maybe it's better to weed out all the half-free proprietary stuff now before they have a chance to go all Unisys on you.

A really nasty trick (3, Interesting)

znu (31198) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842344)

This serves two strategic purposes for Google. First, it advances a codec that's de facto controlled by Google at the expense of a codec that is a legitimate open standard controlled by a multi-vendor governance process managed by reputable international standards bodies. ("Open source" != "open standard".) And second, it will slow the transition to HTML5 and away from Flash by creating more confusion about which codec to use for HTML5 video, which benefits Google by hurting Apple (since Apple doesn't want to support Flash), but also sucks for users.

It is, in other words, a thoroughly nasty bit of work. It's not quite as bad as selling consumers down the river to Verizon on 'net neutrality, but it's close. And if Google is actually successful in making WebM, not H.264, the standard codec for web video, they're literally going to render hundreds of billions of dollars worth of tablets, smartphones, set-top boxes, etc. with H.264 hardware support obsolete.

"But wait!", the OSS fans are saying. "Isn't Google really standing up for freedom and justice, because H.264 requires evil patent licensing?"

No. Expert opinion [multimedia.cx] is that WebM infringes on numerous patents in the H.264 pool, and will need a licensing pool of its own to be set up, just like Microsoft's VC-1 did. So the patents are a wash. This is Google manipulating the market entirely for selfish advantage here, and it's all the worse because they're pretending otherwise. And it's going to be really frustrating watching people fall for it.

Re:A really nasty trick (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34842370)

fuck it. i wonder how many software "patents" the standard "hello world" program violates.

Re:A really nasty trick (1)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842580)

And if Google is actually successful in making WebM, not H.264, the standard codec for web video, they're literally going to render hundreds of billions of dollars worth of tablets, smartphones, set-top boxes, etc. with H.264 hardware support obsolete.

Silly hyperbole. People change their devices every 2-5 years anyway. With the growing strength of Android OS and the similarities in the Webm and H264 codecs, I don't see hardware manufacturers having major issues with the transition either.

I do not see that much of an issue here. It's not like H264 is going to drop off the face of the planet any time soon either.

Re:A really nasty trick (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34842594)

Will people please stop citing an x264 developer's rant as an "expert opinion" on the video quality or patent risks of WebM? Next thing we'll indulge the musings of a Coca-Cola Company executive on health issues related to PepsiCo products.

Re:A really nasty trick (2, Insightful)

jrumney (197329) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842596)

And if Google is actually successful in making WebM, not H.264, the standard codec for web video, they're literally going to render hundreds of billions of dollars worth of tablets, smartphones, set-top boxes, etc. with H.264 hardware support obsolete.

WebM can use many of the same acceleration blocks as H.264, it is a matter of writing the codecs that use the hardware.

Re:A really nasty trick (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842744)

So, OK, I'll buy most of that argument. But how is Google going to control the market using Chrome, which has 10% marketshare?

Why wouldn't h.264-using chrome fans simply install a chrome extension that brings back the h.264?

Why wouldn't the open-source chrome get forked to keep h.264 intact for those who want it?

Re:A really nasty trick (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34842768)

Expert opinion [multimedia.cx] is that WebM infringes on numerous patents in the H.264 pool, and will need a licensing pool of its own to be set up, just like Microsoft's VC-1 did.

Sorry, but an x264 developer is not a lawyer. Citing him as an "expert" on whether or not WebM infringes patents is frankly rather silly.

Google is fucking stupid. (0, Flamebait)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842394)

Sure, why support THE video standard?

Google, you're fucking dumb.

I guess I'll drop Chrome (1, Insightful)

Manfre (631065) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842396)

The only reason I currently use Chrome is due to Chrome to phone. I can do without.

Re:I guess I'll drop Chrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34842736)

Even though I'm a fan of Chrome, you can do Chrome to Phone from Firefox with this extension. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/161941/ [mozilla.org]

WebP (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842410)

What next, will Google drop JPEG, GIF and PNG in favor of WebP?

A classic-era Microsoft move (3, Interesting)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842470)

Wow, that is exactly the kind of thing that Microsoft would do before it finally got the idea that standards are good. Like the way Windows Movie Maker would only save in WMV format. Although MS used to ignore the standards, only to add them in later rather than blatently removing support in an existing product.

But I can understand why Google might do this. It is annoying that we have the situation (yet again) where you have to choose between one standard that is more commonly used with better device support, and a more open standard (without patents) that is not quite as good (mostly because it doesn't get accelerated). It is the MP3/OGG situation again. And Google's solution is the same that open source audio software did - they will rely on plug-ins like LAME to add support.

Also the similar thing happened when the GIF format patent became a problem. It got dropped from a lot of programs where they didn't want to have to pay for a licence.

I'm not sure why TFA said that it was controversial that Microsoft added H.264 support to Firefox. It seemed quite reasonable to allow Microsoft's patent licence to be used in software installed on their operating system.

Google plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34842472)

1) Draw gun
2) Cock gun
3) Place gun against foot
4) Pull trigger

Re:Google plan (1)

gall0ws (902335) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842684)

1) Draw gun
2) Cock gun
3) Place gun against foot
4) Pull trigger

5) ???
6) Profit!

I dropped Chrome and went back to Firefox 4 (0)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842480)

I was using Chrome for a while and was fairly happy with it, but Firefox 4 is faster. I run it on newer and older Pcs and Firefox 4 performs a lot better on both newer and older hardware.

So What? (1, Interesting)

crhylove (205956) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842548)

Really, nobody should be using Chrome anyway. Firefox has a much, much better spec on nearly every level, is open source, has the adblock extension available....

I tell all of my clients to use Firefox exclusively. That way you KNOW the code is truly open, secure, and up to date. There is no way to know this with a closed source browser, and I can't for security purposes ever recommend using one.

Even if it's better than Internet Explorer.

Firefox for the win! Boycott closed source software!

Chrome was nice.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34842566)

..but it wasn't that nice. guess the good times are over. back to Firefox 4.

Enter the H.264 fanboys (-1, Flamebait)

BenoitRen (998927) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842592)

Looks like the H.264 fan and apologist squad has already arrived. They must like sucking corporate cock.

HA HA !! STUPID !! STUPID !! STUPIID !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34842634)

Teh Google forgets !! People CAN use Bing !! People CAN use Yahoo! !! People CAN use any other browser !!

Teh Google is Teh Spupid !!

Fttttttp. This is born from corporatized specs (1)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 3 years ago | (#34842672)

This is what people got for not supporting Theora. This is may or may not be your cup of tea, but the open web still pushes, regardless of corporate interests. Independant people will still be able to make a free web browser legally. This will either a: force the h264 codec to open up more, or b: force a more open HTML5 spec.

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