Google to drop support for embedded H.264 video

January 12, 2011: 2:55 PM ET

In a surprising move yesterday, Google announced that it would no longer support the web's most common video format in its browser.  The web is not pleased.

The web is up in arms at what appears to be a double standard in keeping things open over at Google (GOOG).  In a blog post on their Chromium blog, Google wrote that it would no longer support H.264 video as an HTML5 embedded video, instead using its WebM open video standard.  WebM is the video format that Google is championing over the more entrenched H.264 standard set by the Motion Pictures Experts Group (MPEG-LA), a patent pooling body.

Though H.264 plays an important role in video, as our goal is to enable open innovation, support for the codec will be removed and our resources directed towards completely open codec technologies.

These changes will occur in the next couple months but we are announcing them now to give content publishers and developers using HTML <video> an opportunity to make any necessary changes to their sites.

Google fully embraces Adobe's proprietary Flash format, building support for it into its Chrome web browser, and even its ChomeOS computers, but why is it now shunning the common H.264 format?   More

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