I really applaud Google for pushing all their chips into the center of the table on ON2 VP8 (otherwise known as the CODEC that powers WebM) rather than continue to support H.264 in Google Chrome. Â I know a lot of those in the tech community think Google is crazy to do this. Â However, when you stop to consider the cabal that the patent holders of H.264 have enjoyed, it was time someone stepped in to break it up.
The move does not come without risks. Â One of the main reasons H.264 was adopted as the standard was, believe it or not, the porn industry. Â As soon as Adobe added H.264 decoding in its Flash Media Player 9, video could be consumed at a super high quality and done so cheaply.
In the last 12 months Google has purchased ON2 technologies to compete on the CODEC front and Global IP Solutions (GIPS) for video and audio processing. Â Wiring this all up Google can offer real time peer-to-peer audio video sessions to go up against Skype and Apple in the space. Â We have to assume that Google has crunched numbers and that using ON2 plus HTML5 is cheaper to serve video up as well.
As I mentioned late in December with the Skype outage, the battle ground is shaping up quickly between Google, Apple, Skype, and to a degree Microsoft and Mozilla with their browsers. Â With H.264 going royalty free until 2015, in the end the user wins as more HD video is available on the internet, unless you are still using Chatroulette, because no one wants to see that in HD.