THE SOFTWARE OPERATION at Google has promised to remove the patent-laden H.264 video codec from its forthcoming Chrome browser releases because it is not open enough.
This move should clear the path for better support of royalty-free codecs, while also lighting a little fire under Google's own open source video codec, WebM.
"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," said Google product manager Mike Jazayeri in a blog post.
Jazayeri said that the company will change the Chrome browser's HTML5 support in order to make it more consistent with those that have already won the affection of the open Chronium project.
Handily perhaps, this favours the WebM format as well as the Theora video codec. However, Google has not slammed the door in the face of other codecs, it just looks that way. "[We] will consider adding support for other high-quality open codecs in the future", added Jazayeri.
Comments on the blog post were a mixed bag, but some were at best rather uncomplimentary to Google.
"Wow, this is the worst thing to happen to web standards I've seen in a long time. This just reinforces the notion that Google doesn't care about users," said one user.
Another added, "this just looks like a lame duck attempt by Google to promote their own Video Codec. Thanks for making the HTML5 Transition even more messy."
Whether the Chrome web browser will also cease to support other non-open software technologies, like for example Flash and Microsoft Windows, remains to be seen. µ
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