Google Intros WebM Video Format

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.