Google stripping support for H.264 video out of Chrome

January 11th, 2011 at 6:31 PM  4 Comments

In a surprise announcement on the Chromium Blog today, Google announced that they would be phasing out H.264 support from the Google Chrome web browser, in favor of the open sourced WebM standard. The announcement further muddies the waters of HTML5 video support.

To that end, we are changing Chrome’s HTML5 <video> support to make it consistent with the codecs already supported by the open Chromium project. Specifically, we are supporting the WebM (VP8) and Theora video codecs, and will consider adding support for other high-quality open codecs in the future. 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.

What is unclear is how Google can on one hand say that their goal is to enable open innovation, and yet still justify bundling the proprietary Adobe Flash plugin with Chrome.

The biggest supporter of H.264 in HTML5 video comes from Apple, which uses it in Safari, specifically on the iPhone, iPad and other iOS platform devices. Because Steve Jobs doesn’t like to run Flash unless he’s had a few drinks first, and even then only with protection, there is no Flash support on any iOS device. If WebM were to take off, Apple would need to act to incorporate support or leave millions of iOS users unable to load most web video sites.

However, the chances of a clear winner emerging from all of this is unlikely.

Prior to this announcement, Chrome had the unique distinction of being the only major browser to support both technologies. Firefox has never supported H.264 and will not in the next version, but Internet Explorer 9 which will be released sometime in 2011, does. Currently the only other mainstream browser that supports WebM is Opera, but Firefox 4 will enable support for that technology after it is released. Safari provides no support for WebM, nor does any current or future version of Internet Explorer.

Factor in Ogg Theora, and you have a codec that is almost universally supported by Firefox, Chrome and Opera… just not Internet Explorer or Safari.

Confused? Yeah, us too.

The reasoning for all of this comes down to licensing, something most end users don’t care about. We’re generally just happy when technology works as advertised. But Google doesn’t want to pay anyone for anything they don’t have to, and supporting WebM means not paying as much money or being bound to a restrictive license agreement.

Chrome used to be the browser that would play any of the three major HTML 5 video formats. Going forward from today, it has voluntarily neutered itself.

Adobe confirms Flash Player 10.1 coming to more mobile platforms

October 25th, 2010 at 9:49 PM  3 Comments

Good news for almost everyone except those running anything with iOS. Adobe today confirmed that they would be releasing plugins for nearly every mobile platform that isn’t run by a man wearing black turtle necks. Already present for Android 2.2, Adobe today added Windows Phone 7, WebOS, Blackberry OS, Symbian and even MeeGo and LiMo to their supported platforms.

Adobe was not clear on when to expect the release on each platform, only saying that it would happen.

Already one of the top free apps on Android Market, with more than 50,000 users giving it a 4.5-out-of-5 star rating, Flash Player 10.1 brings rich Flash based content to mobile devices inside the browser. The runtime is now certified on close to a dozen Android devices and will become available on dozens more over the coming weeks and months.

via Businesswire

Google Chrome to include Adobe Flash player

March 30th, 2010 at 2:27 PM  No Comments

In a move that is sure to anger those who like total control over the software on their computers, Google has teamed up with Adobe to bundle Flash player with their Chrome browser. From the announcement on the Chromium Blog:

Today, we’re making available an initial integration of Flash Player with Chrome in the developer channel. We plan to bring this functionality to all Chrome users as quickly as we can.

We believe this initiative will help our users in the following ways:

  • When users download Chrome, they will also receive the latest version of Adobe Flash Player. There will be no need to install Flash Player separately.
  • Users will automatically receive updates related to Flash Player using Google Chrome’s auto-update mechanism. This eliminates the need to manually download separate updates and reduces the security risk of using outdated versions.
  • With Adobe’s help, we plan to further protect users by extending Chrome’s “sandbox” to web pages with Flash content.

Improving the traditional browser plug-in model will make it possible for plug-ins to be just as fast, stable, and secure as the browser’s HTML and JavaScript engines. Over time this will enable HTML, Flash, and other plug-ins to be used together more seamlessly in rendering and scripting.

Those who were hoping to see HTML5 deal a killshot to Flash, should be very disappointed.

Canon extends partnership with Adobe

September 17th, 2009 at 9:30 PM  1 Comment

Canon_logoCanon told the press today that they will be extending the partnership with Adobe with a new software agreement designed to boost security and usability of the company’s products.

Canon and Adobe formed said partnership back in 2005 for various projects, with the printing giant now planning to offer integration with the Adobe LiveCycle Rights Management ES system into all of its new imageRunner Advance series of products, allowing users to apply security policies to scanned documents on the fly.

Canon’s European marketing manager, Paul Rowntree, gave a demonstration of how the system works, and showed how certain policies will do things such as prevent unauthorised users printing a certain document.

“This type of security is unique to Canon and shows how our printers fit with a secure document management system,” Rowntree said.

Users will also be able to assemble documents with material from multiple sources using easy drag-and-drop functionality, according to the firm. Now that Canon holds a niche feature set with combined document security and compilation software, it will be interesting to see if this helps them recover from the economic struggles of the first two quarters of this year.