Google the worlds largest internet based company has given a statement withdrawing support for the H.264/MPEG4-AVC codec in its upcoming browser and Operating System. Google stated that they are changing Chromes HTML5 video support, that they are now focusing their investments in technologies developed and licensed based on open web principles. They reiterated support for the WebM (VP8) and Theora video codecs and are considering adding support for other high quality open codecs if the possibility arises. They claim that even if H.264 plays a vital role in video their goal to promote open innovation will remain same. They have stated that though the changes will be seen in a few months time Google has made this announcement to allow web site owners to make necessary changes.
Google current version of web browser chrome supports playback of HTML5 videos encode using H.264/Mpeg4-AVC codec. It will line a time frame of 2 months withdraw support for the current industry standard H.264 and provide support for open-source based WebM and Theora as stated in its commitment to support open innovation. Though Google will continue support for the Adobe plug-in.
However Google’s intentions behind this step remain masked because switching to WebM is fraught with many obstructions. For starters MPEG LA has already stated that it wouldn’t charge royalties for free videos using the H.264 encoding which would mna that googles move will not change anything for the end users as they weren’t expected to pay anything anyway which would result in googles choice to not charge anything for a major chunk of the end users. The WebM format is currently an unknown entity for a majority of developers and the time frame announced by google is not enough for it to become a major player nor will it have spread much of an influence. Also the current industry standard H.264 is designed keeping in mind that it can be accelerated by the current graphic processors hence acting as a power saving feature unlike WebM. WebM currently does not have much support among encoders so a major underhaul will have to happen to see WebM make its mark. Also MPEG LA has is showing its trump card with finesse it believes that WebM violates patents which can lead to it being shut down. Currently chrome is used by approximately 10% of internet users, so there are 90% percent of users who do not utilize it hence Google cannot virtually dictate its terms to the Web Industry. With such a low user base and a lower market share it cannot actually hope to influence the web world. Maybe in the future web support for WebM might increase but until then this tep of goole is fraught with mistakes. The major reason that commercial powerhouses do not favor open source is because of its ever-changing nature.