Google Intros WebM Video Format

| News

Google is jumping into the Web video format game with the introduction of its WebM format. The Internet search giant unveiled the format during its Google I/O conference on Wednesday.

Google is presenting WebM as an open format that plays well on many devices including battery limited products such as tablets, handheld electronic devices and netbook computers. The format is based on the VP8 video codec the company purchased from On2, and is already lining up supporters.

Adobe plans to add VP8 support to the Flash Player application, and hardware makers such as NVIDIA, AMD, ARM, Freescale and Qualcomm are on board to support the format, too. Microsoft plans to make a WebM plug-in available for Internet Explorer 9, but won’t be including support by default.

Apple hasn’t announced yet whether or not it plans to include WebM support in Safari.

WebM could be seen as a competitor to the H.264 video format, which is already gaining wide support from many companies including Apple and Microsoft. Google is, however, calling WebM “a broadly-backed community effort to develop a world-class media format for the open web.”

A developer preview of WebM is available now at Google’s WebM Project Web site.

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Comments

computerbandgeek

I am not up on this kind of stuff. How is it better than H.264? And is it enough to make the switch from an almost universal standard worthwhile?

Tiger

Consider it an additional choice for websites to use according to their taste. It is open source. That has a lot of positives, a few negatives, but overall gives it some legs to stand on.

And maybe IT will make Flash tenable if Adobe alters flash to incorporate it instead of just their own codec.

So, it’s a win-win for now.

ilikeimac

The thing that makes WebM even more open than H.264 is that no royalties are required to use it to encode commercial video (video sold for profit). H.264 is free for video consumers, but only free for content creation if the content is free.

Details: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H264#Patent_licensing

iJack

“H.264 is free for video consumers, but only free for content creation if the content is free.”

True.  But most web video content is free anyway, so…

Mark Schaefer

Flash supports H.264 currently.  It’s the other stuff, the vector art that the Flash engine renders, that makes it the resource drain it is.  The WebM project is offering the codec for free, but it is owned by Google. I do not think it is open-source.

b9bot

Great, another format, WHY? H.264 works with HTML 5 lets keep it simple and skip another web format. They say it’s open but is it really? Google will charge for the service so I really don’t see any reason to go there. What networks and media companies are backing Google besides Sony?
They need a lot more answers before they have anything really good to brag about.
So far it looks like another online TV service with no channels, no movies, no media at a cost of how much?

ethan

And maybe IT will make Flash tenable if Adobe alters flash to incorporate it instead of just their own codec.

Tiger, you do know that the flash player can load an run H.264 files directly without it being saved as an .flv or fv4 file format? The difference is in flv or fv4 file format there is extra metadata added via the wrapper that you can access via actionscript.

That’s the beauty of Flash Player-you don’t need extra encoded formats to use the player.  It’s been this way since Player version 9. The flash player actually doesn’t even look at the file extension and actually looks at the data inside to figure out the codec. his will most likely be the same with Google’s new format as Flash has had On2 support for a very long time.

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