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Google to Drop H.264 Support from Chrome



Google is taking big time heat from many corners over its announcement to drop support for H.264 in Chrome. Google claims the decision was made over copyright questions that could affect it’s desire to have everything be “open” when it comes to Chrome.

The reason behind that is a lingering fear many have expressed about the H.264 video standard. The IP for H.264 is owned by MPEG LA and so far there has been no charge assessed for the use of it, and there are promises that this will be the case until 2016. Google’s stance obviously questions what happens after that point if a charge gets assessed on something that has become widely accepted.

Of course this has raised issues over the whole “open” question again as many point out that Chrome has support for Adobe’s FLASH, which is proprietary and not open. This is leading to cries that Google is being hypocritical as well as bringing up the FLASH security and performance issues all over again. Google is also pushing support for WebM (VP8) and Theora video codecs. H.264 has increasingly become the way many view web video and is talked about quite a bit when folks start talking about the still slowly creeping along HTML5.

The upshot of this is that those pushing web video content will have to make some choices if they want their video viewed in Chrome browsers.



  1. Motoare Electrice

    01/12/2011 at 2:39 pm

    Another the reasons to stick with Firefox.

    • Sumocat

      01/12/2011 at 3:23 pm

      No, it’s not. Firefox does not natively support H.264 either. Relies on a plug-in.

    • sfwrtr

      01/12/2011 at 10:50 pm

      Firefox doesn’t support H.264 natively because Mozilla doesn’t incorporate IP incumbered code. In a sense, Google and the Mozilla Foundation align on this one. I still think that a better idea would be for the consortium of companies licensing H.264 to hash out the 2016 issue ASAP.

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