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Google Being Weird

January 12, 2011 12:28:15.000

As John Gruber says, this makes very little sense: Google is dropping h.264 support from Chrome:

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

Umm, yeah - and you still support Flash because...... .

Update: A commenter on Facebook notes that this could easily be a scare over patent issues surrounding H.264.  There are many patent trolls out there....

posted by James Robertson


HTML5 vs H.264

[W^L+] January 12, 2011 13:41:16.695

Gruber has inhaled too much incense from Steve's temple.

See Simon Phipps' article for a response. [link 1]

Look at it this way. HTML5 video, if it is ever going to succeed, needs _one_ codec that is supported on nearly every browser on nearly every OS. H.264 _cannot_ be that codec, and neither can the Apple's and Microsoft's company-specific codecs.

The "free" or zero-price license to H.264, for example, has restrictions that Mozilla-based products cannot implement because of their distribution model. The license may have different restrictions in different countries (part of why Opera won't ship it). And utilizing existing codecs already on one's computer wouldn't exempt one from possible legal backlash.

So forget H.264. If you want HTML5 video and audio to become widespread, H.264 cannot be the central codec. I just wish Google had been gutsy enough to say this back when the committees were arguing about codecs in HTML5. If you want H.264, use Flash, where Adobe already has a paid license.

Incidentally, this wouldn't post from Chromium on Linux 64-bit.

[1 http://blogs.computerworlduk.com/simon-says/2011/01/google-and-h264---far-from-hypocritical/index.htm]

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