Google has announced that it’s open source web browser platform Chromium (the framework behind Google’s Chrome browser) will be dropping support for the popular h.264 HTML video codec – favoring Google’s own WebM platform (based on the VP8 codec which Google acquired in 2009).
The reasons for the drop in support of this widely popular video codec, have been explained in the official Chromium blog, and the main standpoint Google has, is on the issue of “innovation in the web media platform“. Open Source enthusiasts may welcome this news, due to new h.264 licensing and royalty rules coming into force in 2015.
It hasn’t been well received by everyone however. Many people see it as , simply dropping support because it is a competing technology with Google’s own WebM. Many people cite Google’s claim of supporting innovation and open web platforms as two-faced, since it continues to support the aging Flash formats – a technology renowned for being distinctly “unopen”.
This story can be interpreted in two completely different ways. Is Google trying to do the right thing in pioneering open web formats? Or is it attempting to kill off the (already widely established) competition – resulting in another backwards step for web standards?