Google has announced that they are preparing to drop support for the H.264 video codec from their Chrome browser. This is the codec which allows playback of YouTube videos, and videos from countless other video sites across the web, and it’s also the primary codec supported the iPhone and iPad. Presumably Google will transcode their YouTube videos to their recently acquired (and open-sourced) WebM video codec.
The tech pundits are up in arms and snarkily ask simple questions. And sure enough, this kinda sucks, there’s no denying that. On the surface of this, dropping H.264 support (which currently works just fine in Google Chrome) is a desperate attempt from Google to get the web as a whole to flock to WebM, the open alternative to H.264. Presuming Google goes through with this, I have a few questions of my own as to what and why:
- What will happen if Google Chrome surfs on to a website that has an H.264 video? Will the file download, or open in a media player installed on the computer? Or will it simply show a “missing plugin” icon? Or will the playback be handled by the Flash Player?
- If this is indeed a codec-war standoff, does Chrome have a large enough user base to make a difference? And wouldn’t it then be a better play to simply transcode all YouTube videos and have them play back best in Chrome?
I’m not ready to drop Chrome as my browser — it’s still the best one out there. Are you dropping Chrome?
[Update]: Playing devils avocado, here’s food for thought:
Beware of light spoilers in the above video.
Please watch this film in the cinema while you still have a chance. I absolutely loved it, and I want a sequel.
In The God Debate, Christopher Hitchens obliterates Dinesh D’Souza. Hitchens rhethorical skills always impress me.
We have people who think you should throw battery acid in the faces of little girls for trying to learn to read in Afghanistan, so clearly, there are real world correlates of that kind of thinking, that kind of orientation. And it’s not our job to not judge it and say, well, to each his own everyone has to work out their own strategy for human fulfillment, it’s just not true. There are people who are wrong about human fulfillment.
Eloquent as always. A tough argument summed up so that anyone can understand it.
An absolutely interesting video debate on the topic: “Is the Catholic church a force for good in the world?”. Needless to say, Hitchens and Fry deliciously and absolutely crush their opponents.
Watching this, I get an insatiable urge to play International Karate. And build LEGO stuff.