Google removes H.264 support from Chrome
We expect even more rapid innovation in the web media platform in the coming year and are focusing our investments in those technologies that are developed and licensed based on open web principles. To that end, we are changing Chrome’s HTML5 support to make it consistent with the codecs already supported by the open Chromium project. 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.
Just when HTML5/H.264 video deployment is gaining real momentum over the use of Flash (even Google’s own YouTube site supports H.264), Google decides to throw a wrench in the works. The big winner, of course, is Adobe. A fractured landscape of supported codecs means that the proprietary, closed source Flash Player will be around a lot longer than it should be, crashing browsers, wasting CPU cycles and draining batteries on devices of all kinds. Is Google trying to force site developers to re-encode all of their H.264 content in WebM format? I don’t think that will go over too well with Netflix, Amazon, Vimeo, etc., who have embraced H.264 and used it to encode vast amounts of video already.
Google, this is no longer between Apple and you. This is going to negatively impact consumers everywhere. We don’t need another standards war.