Google and the attack of the killer codec.

Google is dropping H.264 in favour of WebM. Google can do whatever it likes, it’s their product. Open this, open that, for the moment it’s irrelevant because whatever Google does H.264 is still the only practical choice to deploy video on the web.

The obvious winner of all this is Adobe because if your browser doesn’t support H.264 via the HTML5 video tag then it will support H.264 via Flash. Huzzah, they will cry! Flash to the rescue! In fact, if Google can’t find away to successfully push plugins for Safari, IE and mobile devices that support hardware decoding for WebM they may have actually killed off WebM altogether by dropping H.264. Google has an outside chance for world domination even though H.264 is still the codec to use on the web. They have pushed WebM on to centre stage and got folks talking about whether or not WebM should be adopted by all browser vendors. If they(Apple & Microsoft) ever do, which I doubt, it will truly usher in a new dawn for video on the intertubes. Now that’s what I call a long shot, but what a win if it works out. The downside is that we’re stuck with Flash for the foreseeable future and handing a win, even a small one, to Adobe can’t be good for Google.

In the end, it’s business as usual but at least we got some entertainment out of it.