Google chrome dropping support for H.264

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Dragoro, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. Dragoro macrumors 6502


    Nov 27, 2010
    It's on the front page of

    Wonder if it's meant to be an indirect attack on the iPad...
  2. dejo Moderator


    Staff Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    The Centennial State
  3. Dragoro thread starter macrumors 6502


    Nov 27, 2010
    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."
  4. Xian Zhu Xuande macrumors 6502a

    Xian Zhu Xuande

    Jul 30, 2008
    Oh noez! Google is killing all our HTML5s! :(

    Google dropped support for H.264 from Chrome. H.264 != HTML5. I don't care one bit for the decision, especially given they've done it in favor of that crap open (but probably not unencumbered if it catches on) standard WebM, but if we're talking about HTML5, Google is one of its great allies.
  5. fermat-au macrumors 6502

    Dec 7, 2009
    As dejo has already pointed out Google is NOT dropping support for HTML5. Google is dropping support for H.264, a patent encumbered codec, in favor ofvWebM, an open, non-patent encumbered codec.
  6. jimN macrumors 6502a


    Jun 23, 2005
    I was of the impression that there was a good chance that WebM infringed patents and was a little too close to H264 for comfort.
  7. rhett7660 macrumors G4


    Jan 9, 2008
    Sunny, Southern California
    Which has released licenses fees to the end user, indefinitely.

    So does this mean they are going to stop supporting Flash? You know the one company proprietary product??!?!? In support of a more open format?
  8. azentropy macrumors 68020


    Jul 19, 2002
    It is... Google will probably end up paying more in litigation costs than it would be to just license h.264. So they aren't doing it to save $$$, they are doing it to try to push the balance of formats in their favor.
  9. smiddlehurst macrumors 65816

    Jun 5, 2007
    *DING* Very interesting point that one isn't it? I know that many will forgive Google virtually anything but dropping H.264 support for not being an open protocol while still supporting Flash with nary a word of complaint sorta puts the kybosh on that excuse. No, this is an attempt to a) get users onto their prefered formats and b) weaken Apple's position in the market if they stick to their guns and don't support Flash. As is so often the case with stuff Google does it can claim it's in the best interests of the consumer while actually making things that little bit worse for them.
  10. ssdeg7 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 15, 2010
    As long as they keep youtube using h264 I don't care.
  11. Xian Zhu Xuande macrumors 6502a

    Xian Zhu Xuande

    Jul 30, 2008
    I absolutely love Gruber's response:

    Point #5 was answered quite nicely by the good ol’ Macalope:

  12. mrboult macrumors 6502


    Jul 29, 2008
    London, England

    Looks like John said everything that was running through my mind. I hope google aren't starting a war with this one.
  13. EssentialParado macrumors 65816

    Feb 17, 2005
    Looking at comments on the net, it seems the people most annoyed by this are Chrome users.

    And for Google to presume all web publishers out there are going to re-encode all their content for a still new and untested video format that is only supported in one browser with a single digit browser marketshare? Are Google intentionally trying to kill their own browser or have they just become incredibly stupid?
  14. jclardy macrumors 68040


    Oct 6, 2008
    Yeah, the fact that they dropped H.264 because it isn't "open" but then they build in the proprietary flash plugin?

  15. blackNBUK macrumors 6502a

    Feb 19, 2010
    I disagree, I think that this could be a smart, if decidely cynical, move for Google. In the short-term Chrome will just be placed on the list of browsers that get provided video via Flash. So Chrome isn't really harmed and Flash is boosted which helps in Google's battle with Apple.

    In the long-term WebM will end up being supported by a lot of browsers, either through HTML5 for Chrome, Firefox and Opera, or through new versions of Flash for everything else. So WebM will be a viable choice should video providers be given a reason to move away from h.264. I'm not sure what that reason could be though, except for the MPEG-LA imposing real charges which they've said they aren't going to do for free video.
  16. Xian Zhu Xuande macrumors 6502a

    Xian Zhu Xuande

    Jul 30, 2008
    Google's move is not something they've done for the consumer—people need to at least get that sorted out.

    H.264 is a stable, valid, and viable solution for the internet, and Google is promoting instead a crappy alternative which is probably going to turn out to be patent encumbered anyway. They've done no good service to web design, internet users, or their customers.

    WebM will only become a viable alternative to other solutions if the right browsers actually support it. That means they need Microsoft on board, Mozilla is important, and Apple would help too. HTML5 is cheerful to accept whatever you throw at it—it is the browser that needs to offer support.

    I'm mostly curious to see if Google will be consistent about this. Will they diminish the Android platform in this quest, or will they limit it to their efforts to their desktop browser? Are they going to take a similar stand against Flash, or is that okay for some reason? H.264 is an open standard governed by multiple vendors and managed by international standards bodies while Flash is closed in every regard.

    To be clear, I think Google should support them both, but the double-standard they're demonstrating is disheartening to say the least. It seems like every time they make a business move these days I find myself respecting them less—I used to admire this company.
  17. PhazonUK macrumors 6502

    Jun 1, 2010
    I get that they would want to push people to use their own codecs, but why would they do it by REMOVING functionality from one of their products? I just think it's ridiculous that they had the support for h.264 and are now pretty much making their browser worse by removing one of it's features.
  18. Xian Zhu Xuande macrumors 6502a

    Xian Zhu Xuande

    Jul 30, 2008
    I would guess they are doing so to actively influence the market (placing whatever goal they have in mind over serving their customers).* It seems like something they would do in order to support Flash in some underhanded way, but I'm having trouble wrapping my head around Google doing something like this. I expect it would be something else. Perhaps they just want a video codec which they have more control over.

    *There are similarities with Apple's decision to leave Flash out of the iOS devices, but at least they have good reasons (e.g Flash offering a poor and inconsistent experience on mobile devices and its nature as a battery hog—both concerns for their general customer—along with security and Adobe's history with Flash on Apple platforms), and more to the point, at least they haven't disabled Flash in OS X.
  19. EssentialParado macrumors 65816

    Feb 17, 2005
    Yeah, there's a big difference in that Apple NEVER supported Flash on iOS devices. It's not something they implemented then removed later because they changed their minds. They decided it's an outdated technology and aren't putting effort into supporting it at all. Whereas Google are actively removing something that's currently there for their users...
  20. Gen macrumors 6502a


    Jul 15, 2008
  21. el-John-o macrumors 65816

    Nov 29, 2010
  22. walnuts macrumors 6502a

    Nov 8, 2007
    Brooklyn, NY
    It seems to me as though several companies are waving around the word "open" (pretending it to be synonymous with good, honest, and not corporate) and using the HTML internet standards as a front to push their own ideals.

    Apple was the first one- they (with google, their buddy at the time) pushed h.264 potential to support their future iOS ecosystem around it. The iOS devices depend on h.264 hardware encoding to save battery life. Google even went and changed YouTube to support h.264- which was huge and worked to legitimize the iPhone and its bold decision not to support flash.

    Now, google split with apple and has developed their own mobile OS, which under the flag of openness supports more video formats (and uses flash) and does not benefit from strict h.264 usage. Could google's move be a stab at apple's iOS? Under the flag of "openness" muddy the waters to prevent h.264 from becoming a standard and having anyone have the upper hand in the mobile territory?

    I admit that this is extreme skepticism and I'm sure my argument has technical flaws. Regardless of why google is doing this, it seems to me like this is a major loss for the consumer. I don't see any way around a year-long struggle for video format dominancy during which the consumer will suffer. Websites will likely either use flash, h.264, or webm. Apple will likely never support webm and google will likely push forward in removing h.264. What kind of battery life issues can we expect when manufacturers are discouraged from building in hardware video encoders without any clear standard in sight? Can we hope that website developers will make their web video compatible with flash, h.264 and webm?

    I hope I'm wrong!

    It seems to me that the ship has sailed for an "open" "standard". The holy grail of a perfect video format that works well, does great in mobile devices and is completely open with no threat of ever being encumbered with patents will never happen. Rather than screw the "standard" part for years ahead and screwing the consumer, lets give a little on "open" and stick with a "standard" so that the world can move on. Even if its not h.264 (and screw over our iOS devices (I'm presuming they are more popular around here), lets at least pick something so that websites and hardware developers can move forward and make better devices.
  23. el-John-o macrumors 65816

    Nov 29, 2010
    Replace "Google" with "Microsoft" and "H.264/Flash" with "Mac/Windows", and your back in Silicon Valley!

    Anyone else notice how this very recent (since 2007) Mobile Industry is kind of like Silicon Valley 2.0? Companies coming together then splitting with each others ideas, etc. Suing each other over everything to try and take ownership of who thought of it first (Microsoft and their problem with the App Store), etc. etc.

    I was watching "Pirates of Silicon Valley" again the other day (Hadn't seen it in years!), and I was laughing at how much the story of Apple, Xerox, IBM and Microsoft back in the day, is so much like the story of Apple, Google, Microsoft and RIM today, with two key players (Apple and Google) and two stuck-to-their-guns companies who are waiting out the revolution, and trying to play catch up (Microsoft and RIM). Maybe it's just me, but there are a LOT of similarities!
  24. peterja macrumors regular


    Jan 21, 2008
    Promoting a free format could very well benefit customers, I don't think customers would be very happy to pay to upload videos to Youtube for example.
  25. QuarterSwede macrumors G3


    Oct 1, 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Agreed. Supporting them both would be the more open solution.

    Too bad WebM is technically inferior to H.264. I'd like to see some side by sides myself ... And no, YouTube is an awful testing bed.

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