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Google Chrome drops support for H.264

Google announced today that they are dropping support for H.264 video codec in Chromium, the open source project in which Chrome is based.

Google claims that the move is to enforce support of open technologies, like the WebM and OGG Theora formats. This is the second time in tris week where a move supposedly to support open standards leaves users without support for video. The other was the removal of the excellent port of VLC app for iPad of the App Store, citing that Apple’s DRM were incompatible with VLC’s GPL license (the port was not done by Videolan itself, but by Applidium).
Now Google drops support for the most ubicuous codec in web, whether it is desktop, mobile or game platforms. For an open web? Or to enforce their WebM codec? I recently had to research for an university what was the best and most efficient way to distribute video content, and after testing both encoders and players and their support across browsers, the best codec to encode and play videos was H.264. Removing support in Chrome seriously harms the 10% of users that use Chrome as their primarily browser.
On the other hand, will Google drop support for Flash? It’s another closed source technology, Google, you know it, right?


“Google Chrome drops support for H.264” received 3 comments! Add yours.

  1. Tweets that mention Google Chrome drops support for H.264 | Technology | ilovecolors -- Topsy.com January 12th, 2011

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Vincent Beneche. Vincent Beneche said: #Google Chrome drops support for H.264 http://goo.gl/fb/LcuQT #technology #html5 #opensource [...]

  2. marcy January 12th, 2011

    I think this is a good move on the part of Chrome. Firefox 4 will support WebM too. Since Apple won’t support flash and Firefox won’t support H.264, 2 codecs are needed for HTML5 video across all browsers. Miro Video Converter (http://www.mirovideoconverter.com/) is awesome at converting to WebM – just drag and drop. (And no, I don’t work for them.)

  3. Elio January 12th, 2011

    However, Flash, which is still bundled with Chrome, supports H.264, so we could still create videos using this codec and they would play normally. It’s just a matter of politics: they won’t be removing Flash because they are partnered with Adobe. Imagine it the other way: Apple partnered with Google. Which closed source technology would have been dropped? Flash or H.264?

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