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Author Topic: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome  (Read 10908 times)

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Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« on: 11 Jan 2011, 17:44 »

http://blog.chromium.org/2011/01/html-video-codec-support-in-chrome.html

Quote
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.

and here's Gruber from DaringFireball's questions about it (pretty much all of which are sensible and good questions)

http://daringfireball.net/2011/01/simple_questions

Chief among them is "If H.264 support is being removed to “enable open innovation”, will Flash Player support be dropped as well? If not, why?"

Ok.

I can only see this being a negative thing for Chrome's marketshare.  It might be a good thing for open technologies in the long run, especially their pet WebM codec, but for end-users who don't give a fuck about this sort of thing and just want a decent browser this is not so good.
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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #1 on: 11 Jan 2011, 17:50 »

Another story on it from Digital Daily: http://digitaldaily.allthingsd.com/20110111/codec-capers-google-drops-h-264-support-in-chrome/

and:
Quote from: SmugMug CEO, Don MacAskill
“I’m left with two choices: Gulp and double my costs on an unknown tech, or return to Flash as primary solution. Ugh. Thanks, Google.”
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schimmy

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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #2 on: 11 Jan 2011, 17:57 »

okay, so i am pretty drunk, but here goes a post...

i've read both of the links in your post, but i don't really don't understand what's going on. can you explain the significance of h.264, or link to somewhere that does?

because, if it is as simple as this quote from the first link suggests: "we are changing Chrome’s HTML5 <video> support to make it consistent with the codecs already supported by the open Chromium project.", then it is really a non-issue, as far as i can tell, from the end-user perspective. i am typing this reply in chromium;  chromium is the only browser i have used for a good couple of months, and i have regularly watched videos in it* without any problems at all.

so i guess my main question is: does this news just amount to " chrome's video support will be closer to chromium's ", and if so, why does this matter at all?

*connection permitting, i watch most of my "must see" programs via iplayer and 4od, which amounts to a fair few hours a week. i also watch youtube videos on a daily basis.

*EDIT* 2nd post was made before i sent this. don't know how much it affects what i have to say on the subject. will check back in the morning, i guess.
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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #3 on: 11 Jan 2011, 18:14 »

H.264 is basically the default HTML 5 standard web video codec now, as both Apple and Microsoft either support it natively or have pledged to do so.  It is also pretty much the only standard that has broad hardware support in both PCs & Macs, xbox & PS3 consoles, and portable devices like well, everything.  iPhones, PSPs, Android handsets, that sort of thing.  The Chrome browser currently supports it, this is an announcement to say that it won't in the future.  Perhaps the reason why you haven't noticed it is because it's still supported right now.  They are talking about bringing the actual support of Chrome in line with the Chromium project's idea of how they want the web to be.

You may not see a difference on most sites.  But for other sites that have gone to giving people the choice of either H.264 or Flash you'll only be able to use flash, which (given their "open standards" reasoning) seems a bit odd.

If I were to put on my cynic's hat - oh, I already have my cynic's hat on anyway, that's handy - I would say that this is a shot across the bow of the websites that have started to move toward providing H.264 content as well as/instead of Flash so that people can still browse their sites using iPhones.  It's ill-conceived and ham-fisted, and I would hope that they will realise that in the next few months.
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schimmy

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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #4 on: 11 Jan 2011, 18:26 »

i am not sure i fully understand what you are saying.
when you say that they're going to "bring the actual support of Chrome in line with the Chromium project's idea of how they want the web to be," do you mean that:
a) chromium already has said in the future it will not support h.264, and chrome has now made the same pledge
or
b) chromium currently does not use h.264, and in the future, chrome won't either
or
c) schimmy, you are stupid, i mean something else entirely.

regardless of the answer to that, what immediate ramifications does this have on us?
are there any major websites that will be incompatible with chrome(/ium) in the future?
can you give some examples of websites (or sections of websites) that won't be supported when this move is made?
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Catfish_Man

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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #5 on: 11 Jan 2011, 19:58 »

Chromium is not really used by anyone outside maybe some open source fans. It's just "Chrome, minus any proprietary bits"; so, I wouldn't focus on what Chromium does.

Immediate ramifications: things like youtube in html video mode won't work.
Long term ramifications: because things like that won't work, people won't make them, and Flash will continue to dominate (which is bad; my friend measured 2 hours better battery life on his laptop by uninstalling Flash).
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Alex C

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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #6 on: 11 Jan 2011, 20:48 »

Dammit. I don't really want to go back to Opera or Safari. I really only dig Chrome 'cuz I have a slightly unhealthy fascination with minimalist aesthetics and because I can afford not to be a power user these days. I don't even keep icons on my desktop because I think it's prettier that way. Firefox really isn't an option for me because I don't want to dick around with it just so it can be less fugly.
« Last Edit: 11 Jan 2011, 20:50 by Alex C »
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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #7 on: 11 Jan 2011, 21:44 »

Short answer is: what Catfish_Man said.

Long answer:

To be honest I did not know there was Chrome and Chromium, I have always thought they were different names for the same thing & they were saying that they were taking an idea from "ideal" to "execution" mode.

Anyway, after reviewing things it is b).  If you are really using Chromium, not just Chrome and you haven't noticed yet then I guess you probably won't care for the immediate future?  I don't know.  It's probably not really something that people will notice immediately, it's more that it'll be hobbling the future development of the web, and unnecessarily fracturing things just as they were starting to all come together.

Apple's been onboard the H.264 train for a while now, and IE9 will only support H.264 natively.  MS has also released a free Firefox plugin that will allow FF to use the native Win7 H.264 codec, so basically that is all the major players sewn up.  It was looking like H.264 was going to be the best bet, but now Google pulls this crap.  I know that a lot of people have been bitching about the licensing issues with H.264, but WebM is based on VP8, which is royalty free now but might not be in perpetuity

http://digitaldaily.allthingsd.com/20100520/googles-royalty-free-webm-video-may-not-be-royalty-free-for-long/

so it's not much of a step in the right direction.

My main problem with this is that it confuses things at a time when all the major players looked to be agreeing on a single solution, and as flawed as that solution may have been there would at least have been a bunch of heavy-hitters in the same corner, working to sort the issue out. Now we'll have fragmentation & confusion.  If Google apply the same decision to their Android browser and move Youtube over to WebM instead of the H.264 they're using now for their HTML5 mode then we'll have one of those major players sitting off in a corner and clutching its toys to its chest in a huff while the rest of the world tries to get along together, which, to be frank, is fucked.
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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #8 on: 11 Jan 2011, 21:51 »

It also annoys me to read things like this:

Quote from: Ars Technica
Google appeared to favor the pragmatic approach and had opted to support both formats in its own browser, but is now moving towards a fully open approach

I know what they mean when they say it, but it seems a bit rich to be describing the removal of an option as an "open" approach or an improvement of any kind.
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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #9 on: 12 Jan 2011, 18:10 »

A humorous piece by an msdn blogger named Tim Sneath: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/tims/archive/2011/01/11/an-open-letter-from-the-president-of-the-united-states-of-google.aspx

Quote
Though English plays an important role in speech today, as our goal is to enable open innovation, its further use as a form of communication in this country will be prohibited and our resources directed towards languages that are untainted by real-world usage.

These changes will occur in the next couple months but we are announcing them now to give citizens using other languages an opportunity to translate the libraries of the world into Esperanto.
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KharBevNor

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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #10 on: 13 Jan 2011, 05:00 »



FUCK YEAH
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http://panzerdivisio

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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #11 on: 13 Jan 2011, 17:48 »

Lookit darm teefs
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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #12 on: 13 Jan 2011, 19:49 »

FUCK YEAH

Yeah, I love FireFox too.

It may sound odd, but Google is just... something about them just makes my skin crawl. I have aversions to using them for search results, let alone anything else they do.
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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #13 on: 14 Jan 2011, 04:24 »

One of the Google head honchos is super skeevy.  I think it is Larry that is the creepy one?  The guy who said that if you don't want people knowing where you live you could just move.  That guy.  Fuck him.
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IrrationalPie

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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #14 on: 14 Jan 2011, 06:41 »

The reason Google is 'dropping' h.264 is because it's not an open codec.
The h.264 code is not an 'open' codec because it is not open-sourced code and the code contains patented algorithms.

That being said, Chrome will still support h.264 via a plugin (extension), however, it will not be included in the vanilla download -- much like Flash has to be installed.

If a codec such as this catches on to become the industry standard, this poses problems for companies such as Google (YouTube) or any other video company (Netflix, Hulu, etc.) as they are responsible for paying royalties (due to the patent) if it is used.

If, instead, an open-source 'free' version is created, the above will not be a problem and development of this free solution will progress.  This is a better solution than having one company holding a universally supported codec hostage.

As a side note :  Chrome was not the first to drop h.264.  Opera had taken a stance against the codec from the get-go.
« Last Edit: 14 Jan 2011, 06:50 by IrrationalPie »
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bicostp

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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #15 on: 14 Jan 2011, 19:45 »

Doesn't Chrome still come with Flash Player?

The problem with using an open-source codec (for example, Ogg Theora) is that they just aren't as efficient as H.264 at compressing video. A 10 megabyte video file vs a 12 meg one means it takes an extra 20% of the original bandwidth use to accomplish the same task. That doesn't make much of a difference in a single instance, but it adds up as traffic increases. Imagine YouTube suddenly needs 1/5 more bandwidth to do its job, that makes the site more expensive to keep running. The video files will take up more disk space, so they have to buy more storage servers (never mind the additional electricity necessary to run them). Meanwhile, users will complain or jump ship because their videos are taking even longer than usual to load or look worse than they did before. Yes, you could compress the open-codec videos more to match the file size of H.264, but you will decrease the video quality noticeably.

As long as the costs of moving to a less efficient open source codec outweigh the cost to license a proprietary one, guess which one companies will go to.

According to this article, 20% is being very generous, so real-world numbers would be much worse.
http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2010/02/ogg-theora-vs-h264-head-to-head-comparisons.ars

It's all moot anyway, because aside from the open source crowd nobody cares what codec video player sites use, as long as their video of a kitty jumping into a box loads quick enough and looks acceptable.
« Last Edit: 15 Jan 2011, 23:25 by bicostp »
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Catfish_Man

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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #16 on: 15 Jan 2011, 00:28 »

WebM is somewhat better than Theora, but still definitely well behind say, h.264 high profile. Probably behind main too.
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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #17 on: 15 Jan 2011, 03:49 »

The reason Google is 'dropping' h.264 is because it's not an open codec.
The h.264 code is not an 'open' codec because it is not open-sourced code and the code contains patented algorithms.

I know that is what they are saying, but I am skeptical.  Either they are the most idiotic idealists, or they are lying about their motives.

In the first case I feel that they are grossly misreading what people will actually do vs what they are hoping will happen. They're hoping that web content providers will offer both WebM and h.264 content, but I doubt they will.  I think they'll just provide h.264 content via native <video> tag plus a Flash wrapper for the same content for those who don't support it natively. Content providers won't want to re-encode all their shit and double their storage costs storing both formats, and I don't think that WebM will replace h.264 as the main codec on the web, as there is already a lot of groundswell support for h.264 and a lot of devices supporting it in hardware.

... prior to this week’s announcement, I thought Chrome had the best HTML5 video policy of any browser: they supported all the relevant codecs. Supporting WebM and H.264 is better than supporting only one or the other, in my book. But if you’re only going to support one, I say support the one that is in wide use, with extensive wide-ranging support from camera makers, mobile playback devices, and online video services.


In the second case, by which I mean if they are misleading us, then it is a pretty targeted move against Apple and Microsoft, especially in the mobile space. Neither of those guys are going to put WebM support into their browsers, and especially not into their mobile devices.  Apple especially doesn't even support Flash on its devices, so I doubt they will throw a WebM plugin onto them.

Google can use Flash as a foil against Apple because Android supports Flash but iOS does not. Google’s double standard is especially noticeable if you realize that Flash supports H.264 video. So Chrome will still play H.264 video, but only if you use a Flash plug-in instead of the standard <video> tag. Clearly, it’s not about openness or cost savings: this codec announcement is just another political jab at Apple.


In addition, their codec is free at the moment, but it is a. based on entirely proprietary technology developed by On2 as opposed to technology designed by a group of people working to ISO and ITU standards

In the traditional sense, H.264 is an open standard. That is to say, it was a standard designed by a range of domain experts from across the industry, working to the remit of a standards organization. In fact, two standards organizations were involved: ISO and ITU. The specification was devised collaboratively, with its final ratification dependent on the agreement of the individuals, corporations, and national standards bodies that variously make up ISO and ITU. This makes H.264 an open standard in the same way as, for example, JPEG still images, or the C++ programming language, or the ISO 9660 filesystem used on CD-ROMs. H.264 is unambiguously open.

In contrast, neither WebM's VP8 nor Theora were assembled by a standards body such as ISO. VP8 was developed independently and entirely in secret by the company On2, prior to the company's purchase last year by Google. Theora was created by a group of open-source developers based on early work also done by On2. Though Theora's development can be described as an open, community process (albeit different in nature and style to the more formal processes and procedures used by the standards bodies), no such claim can be made of VP8. At the time of its development, VP8 was a commercial product, licensed by On2. Keeping the specifics of its codec secret was a deliberate goal of the company. Though it has since been published and to some extent documented, the major design work and decision-making was done behind closed doors, making it at its heart quite proprietary.

and b. because it is based on proprietary code built by one company there are probably some patents it infringes on, because the tech in this field is pretty focused

WebM is not truly an open technology because it almost certainly uses patents owned by MPEG-LA or its members. Right now, the patent holders are ignoring it because it’s too small to bother with. We’ve seen this tactic many times before (for example, NTP vs. RIM): bide your time until a lot of people are using the infringing software and then hit it with a massive lawsuit for maximum profit. WebM is its own patent trap, and Google refuses to indemnify users against possible claims further down the road. If they were certain it was IP-clean then why hesitate to provide that protection? Clearly they don’t want that unknown, possibly large liability on their balance sheet.


Either way, no matter what they are trying to do, the real result is going to be to divide the web over the use of the HTML5 video tag, slowing down wider adoption and prolonging the use of plugins like the Flash player and whatever shitty plugins they come up with for their WebM codec, when the video tag is supposed to be about moving toward an environment where plugins are not required for video playback on the web.  ie: it is completely fucking up the exact thing that it is trying to help.

Quote from: Marco Ament @ http://www.marco.org/136785976
By not supporting the practical format, Mozilla isn’t making a brave statement or taking a stand: they’re just keeping everyone on Flash and preventing meaningful adoption of HTML 5’s <video> element.

First and formost, the point of all of this H.264/WebM stuff is so that the web can shift to an HTML5 video standard going forward. Of course, since neither IE nor Safari will support Google’s, Mozilla’s, and Opera’s preferred codec for that standard, we’re right back to plugin land! Why don’t we just call WebM, Flash 2.0?
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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #18 on: 15 Jan 2011, 03:51 »

Also, with this move Google is basically telling Chrome users and I guess the general web at large that their end-user experience is not as important to them than getting one over on Apple in the mobile space.
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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #19 on: 15 Jan 2011, 04:03 »

Also also: Flash already plays h.264, so you don't need another specific plugin in order to play it.  But if you're saying it's not so bad 'cos you can use plugins then you're missing the entire point of having the html5 <video> tag in the first place, ie: to be able to play video natively in the browser, without plugins.
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IrrationalPie

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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #20 on: 15 Jan 2011, 08:25 »

Also, with this move Google is basically telling Chrome users and I guess the general web at large that their end-user experience is not as important to them than getting one over on Apple in the mobile space.

That depends on how you see it.  While the end user doesn't see the cost due to royalty fees, it does cost money for the providers to actually use the codec.

This cost is of course going to be passed to the user via ads, promotions, or subscription fees.

I really doubt Apple influenced their decision as much as the cost-savings that the new codec is providing them due to YouTube.

You're right that Web-M doesn't compare to H.264, but at the rate of processor advances combined with the CPU/GPU integration that has just started, the general consumer won't notice a difference.
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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #21 on: 15 Jan 2011, 14:41 »

You're not actually reading my posts, are you.
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IrrationalPie

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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #22 on: 15 Jan 2011, 15:18 »

Why would you think that?

I've read them, and I disagree that the decision has anything to do with Apple as a deciding factor.

The Apple has cited the main reason for not supporting Flash as it not being 'open'.  Web-M is open.  They'll have a tougher time explaining to their consumers why content isn't available.

The HTML5 video tag standard isn't even finalized.  Why should the video tag be backed behind a technology that's not open?  It doesn't make sense.  Opera, Chrome, and Firefox have announced full support / native integration of Web-M.  H.264 isn't supported natively by Firefox.  There was going to be a split in backing even before Web-M came on the scene anyways.  It's not like Web-M is the instigator that is intent on destroying the <video> tag.  If Web-M wasn't announced, I believe the same conflict would be occurring with Ogg Theora in Web-M's place.
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Alex C

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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #23 on: 15 Jan 2011, 15:36 »

I have a tough time buying into the cost saving thing in the short run without having some numbers in front of me. For one thing, h.264 has some advantages in terms of plain ol' compression and I can't imagine that not being quite a big advantage with a traffic monster like youtube. Second, I get the impression that a lot of the cost savings in regards to youtube would depend on them switching to a model where they don't bother encoding in other formats at all, something that observers don't seem to think is likely given how much it'd fuck over mobile devices. And if they did do that then well...


Anyway, I could be totally wrong since I don't follow this stuff closely at all, but it does kinda give the impression that google realized they're in a better situation to weather a setback than anyone else. In other words, this seems like a step backwards that relatively speaking, puts them ahead.
« Last Edit: 15 Jan 2011, 15:42 by Alex C »
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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #24 on: 15 Jan 2011, 22:55 »

Yeah, I can agree with that, Alex.  They have a good position with Chrome still being seen as a niche product, as well a a strong platform (Youtube) with which to push their alternative offering.

Also, what do you mean by "open", IrrationalPie?  As I stated in a post above, WebM is entirely proprietary code.  The only thing "open" about it is its licensing, and it may not stay that way due to the patents it almost surely violates.  Google is saying "hey trust us, this thing that we are using is totally great and it'll always be free", but is refusing to give any kind of fiscal assurances on that, and so far has only opened up part of the code for scrutiny.

On the other side, h.264 source code is freely available.  If you compile your own codec from the source it is free to use, and if you are not charging anything to look at your site then serving videos encoded using it is also entirely free:

Quote from: Ars Technica
MPEG-LA's license terms for H.264 set out a range of fee schedules depending on the exact nature of the H.264 implementation. Importantly to web users, video that is distributed over the web and which is, importantly, not behind any kind of a paywall, is royalty-free. This means that uploading a video to a site such as YouTube and then rebroadcasting that video to all and sundry is free

Google do not have to pay anything for the Youtube videos encoded in h.264, so that reasoning is entirely fallacious.  What they would have to pay for though, is the codec in Chrome, which they are apparently now too cheap to cough up for.
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IrrationalPie

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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #25 on: 16 Jan 2011, 00:43 »

Just found an opinion from Opera's creator.

I think this would better explain the argument :  http://my.opera.com/haavard/blog/2011/01/13/openness
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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #26 on: 16 Jan 2011, 01:53 »

Yeah I've already read that a couple of days ago, and I know what the argument is.  I still disagree with it.


Quote
9. "The market share of browsers that support H.264 exceeds WebM capable browsers"

Google's online advertising monopoly is working on overdrive to ensure that won't happen.

He suggests this is a good thing?  "Oh, lucky Google has that advertising monopoly to make everyone else do what they want."

Honestly though, advertising monopoly or not I cannot see how Google is going to convince people to use Chrome when they are doing shit like this.  Pretty much every user comment on both their Chromium blog entries on this topic is negative, and that is on their blog, so I would assume the commenters are actually Chrome fans.  They are getting a shellacing for it from a lot of major tech news sites and web design sites.  The only people who seem to be in their corner at the moment are FSF-type guys, which is not really a positive thing.


Quote
8. "Firefox users would be able to view H.264 content using Microsoft's plugin"

Notice the word "plugin". It means that we're basically removing HTML5 video, and returning to plugins. All the benefits of native video disappear just like that

He's being hypocritical here, because this is exactly what Google is suggesting to do for IE9 & Safari users - create a WebM plugin. He criticises the use of plugins, yet lauds Google retaining Flash plugin as pragmatic, and calls it a red herring when it's actually a really, really big part of the conversation.  Why are they leaving Flash plugin support in?  He suggests it's because they are being pragmatic, but if they wanted to be pragmatic why not just leave things as they were and keep supporting both WebM and h.264, as they have been?  That would have been the pragmatic option.

Here is another interesting couple of facts:
1. In this Engadget review of the GoogleTV device Google reps told them that even though the GoogleTV can handle HTML5 video playback they force users to the Flash-based versions of files because then they can serve ads.

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Google's own YouTube -- one of the first sites to provide HTML5 video playback -- loads up its Flash player on Google TV, because that's the only way Google can serve ads during the content. Seriously -- that's what Google told us.

2. Google makes money from advertising.  It is a tech company, sure.  But its money comes from advertising.  Check this table of incomes out: http://investor.google.com/financial/tables.html

If it's not immediately obvious to you, here is a simplified table:


So they can only serve Youtube ads using Flash, and they make all their money from ads.  Hey, I wonder why they like Flash so much?


Quote
Just because a format is widespread offline does not mean that it is suitable for use on the web. Since the web requires open standards, H.264 is not suitable as the primary format for video on the web, by definition.

Is he being serious?  By his definition gifs should never have been suitable for the web, but at one time they were one of the main image types used everywhere.  The main reason they're being superceded by PNGs is because PNGs give better quality images.  The web is not something unique, it is another media transmission medium.  A lot of people already have their media encoded in h.264 for use elsewhere, the path of least resistance means that they'll prefer to keep it that way instead of re-encoding everything in WebM just for the web.  I can shoot h.264 video on a number of devices I already own, and watch it on any number of other devices I already own. I know that (as he says) I upload it to youtube it'll re-encode it for me, but youtube isn't the only game in town, nor should they expect the website to do all the work converting things over to the magical web-suitable WebM format.
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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #27 on: 16 Jan 2011, 02:11 »

As an aside, Google has become a really really strange beast.  I've watched it grow over the years, starting from back when it was this great new search engine competitor to Altavista and Yahoo.  On the one hand you've got the Google who champions free software & web standards and gives us a bunch of really great products like their search engine, GMail, Google Maps, Reader, Chrome, Android, and I guess if you want to count it as one of theirs, Youtube.

On the other hand you've got this absolute behemoth with a virtual monopoly on search and internet advertising, who has bought out a whole plethora of other companies and now its fingers in so many tech pies that they are competing with just about every other company in the tech world.  A company that collects every single piece of information it can from its users, including (as it's coming to light) illegal wifi searches in multiple countries while taking the photos for the really cool but already kind of creepy Street View, and then uses that information to target ads at you, for which it gets paid.

It has gone from this really cool, funky tech company into a hulking hydra where not all of its faces are entirely benevolent.  I used to laugh at people who'd say that they don't trust Google, because c'mon man, it's Google!  Google search!  Google mail!  Google maps!  C'mon!  But now I don't know.  Its attitude toward privacy is really starting to bug me, and seeing that they make most of their money from knowing as much about us as they possible can, I'm not sure that my discomfort is unjustified.
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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #28 on: 16 Jan 2011, 02:11 »

So I guess you can use that info to colour why I am skeptical about their intentions?  I dunno.
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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #29 on: 16 Jan 2011, 02:49 »

Ok ok, last one for a while:

Given what I have said above, and that Google has gone on the record as saying that Flash is the present of video on the web and WebM is its future, it wouldn't surprise me (if fact I fully expect) that there is a Google dev team looking into a way to modify the WebM format to allow for easy, on-the-fly insertion of other videos into the middle of existing videos so that they can serve dynamic ads in native html5 video.  It also wouldn't surprise me if this was kept separate from the normal WebM spec and sold as a pro-only feature for commercial use, like they do with Google Earth Pro.

If so, their gameplan would look something like:
1. convince everyone to move to WebM, as it is a "free, open" codec
2. patent a way to slipstream ads into WebM content on the fly that is compatible with the free codec, sell it to web media providers who are stuck using the now-standard WebM
3. $$$

bonus points for evil/web advertising monopoly would come in if the ads could only be served from Google's own ad network.
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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #30 on: 16 Jan 2011, 02:57 »

I agree that Google's Web-M decision was mostly if not entirely based on self-interest and money rather than keeping the web 'open', but I agree with them and the Opera blogger in that H.264 should not have any place being a standardization for the HTML5 video tag with it's current patents.  I would rather have the standardization done right;  Web-M seems like it will be well supported by Google, abides by the GNU GPL (my definition of 'open'), and seems like the best of competitors against H.264.

As for the patented ad technology idea -- I'm not sure that would even be possible.  In fact, that's one of the harshest criticism of HTML5 video is that it doesn't support protected content and reporting for advertisers.

Just because the HTML5 video tag will become standardized at some point, doesn't mean Flash will just die out.  It still has and will be used as an alternative media player.  There won't be a true monopoly.
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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #31 on: 17 Jan 2011, 04:59 »

Ben's explanations are very in-depth and thought out; I tend to buy arguments more when they start out from self-interest (one thing that's pretty much always true) and work outward from there, rather than starting from assuming that a corporation actually means what it said in the press release.

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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #32 on: 19 Jan 2011, 20:40 »

In what is a semi-related and pretty great move the WHATWG is going to be dropping the 5 from HTML5: http://blog.whatwg.org/html-is-the-new-html5

ie: they're turning HTML into a working, or living document-based standard from their perspective.  Once something it ratified it goes into the spec.  No waiting for some nebulous "release" point, just do it.  The W3C is still running with HTML5 though, so I guess there will probably be a bit of conflict there for a while, but I think it's a good thing, especially with the speed that most browsers are updated these days.  New features could get approved and interred to the working HTML spec one month and be in a browser update a couple months after that.  Sounds like a step toward a more progressive html spec.
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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #33 on: 19 Jan 2011, 20:41 »

and I know that to a certain degree there is support for supposed HTML5 features already, and that browser devs don't necessarily wait, etc etc.  This is still a fundamental change in mindset, and one I think will do some good.
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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #34 on: 19 Jan 2011, 20:47 »

Okay, from a layman's not-entirely-techy viewpoint, is this whole non-support issue the reason why some websites, like QC and this forum, occasionally look funny when you first load them in Chrome?
« Last Edit: 19 Jan 2011, 20:48 by jwhouk »
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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #35 on: 20 Jan 2011, 00:09 »

No. This applies to video only.
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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #36 on: 20 Jan 2011, 00:11 »

Nah, I think that that is because it was written years ago by someone who was not a professional web dev and thought she was writing temporary code on a small website.  Heather's stuff has held up pretty well all things considered!
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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #37 on: 20 Jan 2011, 14:38 »

Also tangentially related: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/update-from-chairman.html

Eric Schmidt is stepping down from CEO & Larry Page is taking over.  This is actually quite good, because I was wrong a while back saying Page was the creepy one - it was Schmidt, not Page who said the creepy "just move" comment/"joke" about people moving if they don't like their house being on Street View, and making wonderful comments like:

"I actually think most people don't want Google to answer their questions," he elaborates. "They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next."

Let's say you're walking down the street. Because of the info Google has collected about you, "we know roughly who you are, roughly what you care about, roughly who your friends are." Google also knows, to within a foot, where you are.

No, really, I really fucking don't.

Hopefully Page will step back a bit from this level of "helpfulness".
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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #38 on: 20 Jan 2011, 20:12 »

As an aside, Google has become a really really strange beast ... It has gone from this really cool, funky tech company into a hulking hydra where not all of its faces are entirely benevolent.  I used to laugh at people who'd say that they don't trust Google ... But now I don't know.

John August has just posted something that gels really well with my feelings about Google:

http://johnaugust.com/archives/2011/on-google-and-evil

A choice quote that echoes what I wrote earlier:
Quote
But it’s remarkable how much my appreciation for Google has shifted over the last year or two. I use their products, but I don’t love the company anymore. In fact, I’m kind of nervous about them. It’s a small thing, but I stopped syncing my address book through Google. I don’t want all of my stuff in their cloud.

and a good summation there at the end:

Quote
Espousing freedom is easy except when it threatens your own dominance. That’s the conundrum Google is in at the moment, though I wonder if they even recognize it.
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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #39 on: 23 Jan 2011, 13:00 »

You know I haven't noticed any problems with chrome so far.
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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #40 on: 24 Jan 2011, 15:45 »

Chrome started breaking for me 3 months ago on Windows and Mac on multiple computers. I got sick of it crashing and went back to Mozilla.
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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #41 on: 04 Feb 2011, 17:41 »

It has gone from this really cool, funky tech company into a hulking hydra where not all of its faces are entirely benevolent.

Somewhat off-topic, but interesting article:
http://thenetworkgarden.blogs.com/weblog/2009/12/openish-the-meaning-of-open-according-to-google.html

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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #42 on: 04 Feb 2011, 19:12 »

Oddly enough, considering the Google-Bing spat going on right now, it's Microsoft to the rescue.
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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #43 on: 05 Feb 2011, 05:57 »

That's not so much odd as brilliant on Microsoft's part. They finally got to play the good rebels to Google's evil empire. Hell, Google did the exact same thing in the other direction with Chrome Frame.

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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #44 on: 11 Feb 2011, 08:52 »

So MS in their browser comparison with IE9 have missed showing this as an advantage (they still list Chrome as having H264).
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Re: Google dropping h.264 support from Chrome
« Reply #45 on: 12 Feb 2011, 17:43 »

So I guess that the MPEG LA group is starting up a fact-finding project about VP8, the underlying tech for WebM.

http://www.mpegla.com/main/pid/vp8/default.aspx

If it's found to infringe on any patents that MPEG LA hold then this debate will start to become a lot more interesting.
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