Google Announces WebM Open-Source Video Format

May 19, 2010
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Today, Google opened up their opening keynote for Google I/O. It's entire purpose was to talk about the Web, HTML5, and how it all can work together to move the standard forward. Part of that movement is open sourcing as much of the Internet as humanly possible, so hopefully you'll welcome WebM with open arms. It's a brand new, open-source video format that Google hopes will hit the mainstream.

Essentially, Google is trying to open up the VP8 codec, which they acquired when they purchased the company On2. The WebM is a container that is based on VP8 video and Ogg Vorbis audio, along with Matroska. More than anything else, Google is proud of the power consumption of the new format, saying that it will work great on mobile devices like netbooks, tablets, and handsets. Additionally, to make sure the movement starts in the right way, Google said that beginning May 19th (today), all video uploaded to YouTube in 720p and up will be encoded in WebM.

Right now, Google's Chrome, Mozilla's Firefox, and Opera are all major browsers that support WebM, but Microsoft and Apple, with Internet Explorer and Safari, were not named. Hardware partners include: AMD, ARM, Broadcom, Digital Rapids, Freescale, Imagination, Logitech, Marvel, MIPS, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, Veri Silicon, and ViewCast. Unfortunately, Intel wasn't named as a hardware partner.

Update: Microsoft has just released a relatively tranquil response to their position on adopting WebM, but while they're not necessarily ready to pre-install it right now, they'll definitely support it. "When it comes to video and HTML5, we're all in," said Internet Explorer General Manager Dean Hachamovitch. By supporting HTML5, IE9 will also support playback of VP8 as well as H.264 video codecs. So, just one more to go, right?

[via WebM Project]


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