Citing the need to continually push forward with the idea of an “open and community-driven” Web, Google has announced that it will remove H.264 playback in its Chrome Web browser. Instead, Google will continue to focus on open codec technologies instead of closed standards, no matter how popular they are.
Since launching its WebM Project last year (a royalty-free, open Web video standard supported by Adobe, Mozilla, Opera, and other companies), Google has stated that it has seen enhancements in the open Web-development. These improvements include better video encoding/decoding, increased standards adoption by browser, tools, and hardware vendors, and independent use that fosters additional choice for users, publishers, and developers. Google believes that by creating this open environment, it encourages competition and innovation.
Looking forward, Google expects to invest more into technologies that are developed and licensed on the open-Web principle. As such, Google is tweaking the Chrome Web browser’s HTML 5 video support to make it consistent with the codecs that are already supported by the Chromium Project. Chromium is the open-source project behind the Google Chrome browser (and Google’s Chrome OS) that houses the documentation and code related to Chromium projects, and is intended for developers interested in learning about, and contributing to, the open-source projects.
To that end, Google will officially support the WebM (VP8) and Theora video codecs. The company has stated that it will also consider additional support for “other high-quality,” unnamed video codecs.
Google stated that the changes will be implemented in the next couple of months, but is announcing them now in order to give HTML video content developers and publishers the appropriate time to make changes to their Web sites.