Short answer to a simple question

“Who is happy about this?”


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  • Kitko:

    Who needs Chrome, anyway…

    • timelord410:

      Now Chrome will just be a shiny turd… A polished shiny turd.

    • It’s as if they think users will change their behavior as a result of this.

      They won’t. They’ll just use a different browser.

      Does Google really think they have the leverage to make this fly? And that’s aside from the whole ‘bold faced lie’ aspect of the announcement.

      ‘Open technologies’ my ass.

    • Ben:

      People who want choice (obviously not in regards to video codecs, but most users don’t care about that. As long as their videos play their laughing.) It’s actually got quite a nice GUI.

    • EH:

      Nobody “needs” Chrome. It is, however, a superb browser – very clean interface and top-notch performance. Here’s a link to a browser shootout that shows it soundly outperforming the other browsers – IMHO it’s probably the best browser out there…

  • Goofball Jones:

    Funny how John Gruber asks this simple question, then answers himself in his Macalope persona. Classic.

  • Dan Woods:

    If Google do go through with this, It may be time for Chromium to get Forked.
    You can’t used BSD or GPLed software to push your Political Agenda by removing features; The Community can just add those features back in.

    • Joseph Walters:

      Dan, you are an idiot. =/ How is the open source community going to afford the h.264 license? In face, OSS version of Chromium NEVER supported h.264, only the google branded version did.

  • MattL:

    Right. And it’s Adobe’s fault for having a product that gets around all this fragmentation bullshit. Damn them. And of course Google’s is the first company to ever exclude other technologies on their platform.

    • His Shadow:

      Uh, what? H.264 is a bona fide open standard with widespread industry support that is practically the only reason mobile video is worth a damn. Google is not cutting out a dead protocol that’s at the end of it’s life, or a proprietary standard controlled by one company (Flash). Google is making a political decision that will damage mobile computing, confuse users and serve no other purposes but Google’s the Freetard excitement over this stupidity is the clearest example yet of why FSF and GPL are practically irrelevant to users and even to a growing number of open source developers.

      • EH:

        H264 is NOT an open standard. Why on earth would you say this? MPEG-LA (not in any way associated with the motion pictures experts group) owns the patents & can certainly charge those (like Google, like Hulu, etc) who make money serving video. In fact, although they recently dropped the threat of charging royalties on content that is ‘free-for-use’ (largely due to the opening up of On2’s VP8 codec of WebM), prior to this they had the option of doing so once their 2015 moratorium expired. Please let me know how this fits into your concept of ‘open’…

    • EH:

      Mozilla never supported h264 and already was set to support WebM in addition to the crappy Ogg Theora codec that they currently support. I’m sure they’ll be happy if it help accelerates the death of MPEG-LA and the end of h264.

      See the following:

      According to Mozilla’s vice president of engineering, Mike Shaver, this issue is more than a simple choice about picking the right technology for the job. It’s about principles. Supporting the H.264 video codec means paying licensing fees to an organization called MPEG-LA, a group that charges $5,000,000 annually for the codec’s use. But it’s not the cost to their organization that Mozilla is worried about – it’s the cost to the developers, distributors, and anyone who wants to create video content on the web. “If H.264 becomes an accepted part of the standardized web, those fees are a barrier to entry for developers of new browsers,” Shaver writes on his blog. “I want to make sure that there are no toll-booth barriers to entry for someone building a whole new browser, or bringing a browser to a whole new device or OS, or making and using tools for creating standard web content.”

      In other words, the decision to support or not support the codec isn’t just about technology, it’s about where the web is going and what it should be. And in Mozilla’s eyes, that means free, open, and available to anyone.

  • I wonder if anybody will say that this is acceptable because they’ll draw parallels with Apple’s decision to not employ and thereby limiting Flash.

    • His Shadow:

      The Google message boards are full of exactly that sentiment, from freetards incapable of realizing the difference between open source, open standard and “free”. Or those who are also incapable of understanding the broad hardware support (and reasons for) H.264 employs. In fact, I dare say that the aforementioned freetards are under the impression Apple owns the spec.

      • EH:

        Lack of hardware support for WebM is the biggest risk here. Actually, I’m guessing that they’re pushing this out right now so that HW vendors start making devices with WebM support sooner rather than later. I guess the later they waited on this the more damaging they felt the problem would become. With the flood of iPad pretenders still not ready to ship, I suppose this makes sense.

        As far as Apple & the h264 spec – although they don’t ‘own the spec’, they (& Microsoft) do own a number of it’s key patents. Not that I think this really means anything to them, but I’d assume that Apple would get some chunk of all license revenue from MPEG-LA…

  • Paul:

    I’m sure Adobe is thrilled, but this is deeply disturbing for the web in general and seems very short-sighted of Google.

    • EH:

      Not sure why Adobe would be thrilled here. Adobe currently supports h264 playback (& creation via adobe tools) & doesn’t support WebM yet…

      As far as Google goes, while you might disagree with their decision, terming it ‘short-sighted’ is certainly not correct. In addition to the $155M they paid last year for On2 to open up On2s VP8 codec (aka WebM), they’re risking quite a bit here to make sure that they (& the vendors within the streaming ecosystem) are not stuck having to pay MPEG-LA huge amounts of money down the road.

      • JScottA:

        Adobe is thrilled because Google is not dropping the decidedly non-open Flash Player from Chrome. And since it will be difficult for content developers to encode for three formats, they will stick with Flash as their primary format for video.

        This whole thing is a direct attack against Apple with Adobe being a short-term benefactor.

  • ABS:

    I was not happy. This is too similar to the QuickTime vs RealPlayer vs Windows Media wars.

    I converted a small fraction of my site’s videos from Flash to mp4. This took months just to support mobile devices. I don’t see how I can get a WebM converter (who makes one with a GUI?), reprocess everything (I’m hearing it can be 20min/video) and reupload – at 50kb/s.

    On the otherhand, I have no problem supporting Flash for Chrome. Users who hate Flash over native video won’t be happy. I would have liked to use the HTML5 video tag. I really wanted only one codec to dominate. Needing multiple codecs, makes HTML5 nothing close to a standard, even if it is open. Open, but unstandard.

  • Fred:

    Don’t dismiss Chrome, Kitko. For the masses who do not use a Mac, whether by choice or otherwise, it’s good that there is a non-Mozilla alternative to IE (and, no, Safari on Windows doesn’t count).

    Mozilla is the other answer to the original question, by the way.

  • Steko:

    July 2011: YouTube announces it’s dropping support for H.264 later this year.

    September 2011: Jobs announces iTube, “for the 100+ million iphone users who love their H.264 video.” iTube also features VoD from Big Content with either Hulu style ads or One Click purchasing. “Works great with the new Apple Home Cinemas.”

    December 2011: Microsoft pushes out IE 9.1 with ad blocking enabled by default as a “security measure”. Curiously doesn’t affect Bing.

    April 2012: YouTube tries to staunch the bleeding ulcer by reenabling support for H.264.

    October 2012: In the face of sagging profits, Eric Schmidt is forced to step down. Sergei, sans monkey shoes, steps up to lead Google promising both “better profits” and a return to google’s roots of “Do No Evil”.

  • Goggle’s action is so hippocritical – dumping the open standard H.264 while keeping the devil’s child Flash in its womb – that Google has essentially killed Chrome as a browser option.

    • Mister Snitch:

      It’s true! My Flash user’s manual has ‘666’ printed in invisible ink on the cover! I’ve been saying this for years, but no one believes me.

    • Peter Potamus:

      While I’ve never actually used the native H.264 video codec in any browser, as a hippopotamus myself, I am not happy with any hippo-critical action.

    • Marcos El Malo:

      Damn those hippos!

      But I think you’re right. Maybe they haven’t killed chrome, but they’re crippling it. I can’t believe they’d be so Microsoftian, but it won’t work. MS had huge marketshare when they used their embrace and extend strategy. There are too many good competitors in the browser market today.

      This does hurt the open web a little, too. But Google is mostly just cutting off their own nose to spite Apple’s face.

  • Mxrk:

    I’ve got all these potatoes, though, and without Chrome how will I turn them into tasty fries?

  • John T.:

    Isn’t it about time Apple just buys Adobe and be done with it?

    • Walt French:

      @John T sez, “ Isn’t it about time Apple just buys Adobe and be done with it?”

      I’d guess about a hundred times more likely for Google & Adobe to tie the knot. I don’t think Jobs is vindictive enough to want to waste shareholder money in engineering a bloodbath, and it’s hard to see it working under the best of intentions.

      Google, OTOH, seems to find Flash an excellent content delivery tool and increasingly likes to control distro. One of the interesting little problems with h.264 is that MPEG-LA guarantees that content providers who charge nothing can use it for free, forever. But if YouTube were to sell its vids to the Comcasts and Verizons of the world (letting them strike special deals with ISPs who could, as cable does today, insert its own ads, then Google is on the hook for fees (the magnitude of which I cannot guess).

      This becomes an interesting little speedbump for Google’s zoom to galactic domination.

  • Sigivald:

    Naw, Chrome is a fine browser option.

    For people with MacBook Airs who don’t want to have a Flash plugin but do occasionally want to look at Flash content.

    All I’ve ever used it for, myself.

  • Jimmy:

    Who, besides tech nerds, uses or has even heard of chrome?

    Seems like such a non-event.

    • breton:

      anyone who’s visited in the last year?

      • EH:

        What an absolutely ignorant comment, Jimmy. Chrome had a 10% (& growing) browser share in 2010 – about twice as great as Safari…

        BTW – Firefox, which (unlike Chrome until now) has never supported HTML5 playback of h264 outside of Flash, had a 22% share.

        I guess the world has a much greater percentage of ‘tech nerds’ than anyone imagined.

  • mark:

    I think it is more than that. Android supports Flash, iOS does not and never will. This is a direct attack against Apple’s mobile OS, plain and simple.

    • Skeeter:

      And Apple didn’t deserve it? Their overnight announcement hurt a lot of developers – many of whom were committed to the Mac platform. Dumping Flash will prove to be one of the dumbest things Jobs has ever done.

      • JScottA:

        “Overnight announcement,”? You must be kidding. Adobe knew this Apple was not happy about the mobile Flash player for a very long time and picked the option to ignore Apple – continuing a long stream of dissing Apple. So…Apple did not dump Flash, actually quite opposite is true. Only recently – a long time after the Flash issue became an Adobe/Apple issue – has Adobe started delivering anything even remote usable on portable devices. And it is usable for only a short time because of battery drain.

        It is hilarious to me that the many, many geeks and other that protested Apple’s action to not try and jam Adobe Flash player onto its devices are often the same people that first downloaded FireFox because of the ability to install Flash-blocking extensions!!

    • His Shadow:

      And that’s why it’s retarded. H.264 is not some pet codec of Job’s and Apple. it’s an actual industry standard. It’s a stupid, shortsighted move on Google’s part and no good will come of it.