Google Pushes 'Open' Internet Video Alternative

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Google, hoping to foster an open-source format for Internet video, on Wednesday announced the creation of WebM with the support of 38 companies and organizations.

Supporters of the WebM format, which includes the royalty-free VP8 video codec, include Adobe Systems, Mozilla, Broadcom, AMD, Texas Instrument, Qualcomm, Harmonic, Brightcove and Opera Software. Google plans to support WebM across its own platforms, including YouTube, Google Chrome and Android.

"Though video is also now core to the Web experience, there is unfortunately no open and free video format that is on par with the leading commercial choices," Google engineering director of video Jeremy Doig and group product manager Mike Jazayeri wrote in a blog posting announcing the WebM initiative.

The VP8 codec was developed by On2 Technologies, which Google acquired last year.

Adobe plans to support WebM in the Flash Player, while two other major online-video players -- Microsoft and Apple -- are not currently part of the initiative.

Google made the announcement Wednesday at its I/O 2010 developers conference in San Francisco. More information on WebM is available at www.webmproject.org.

WebM includes the VP8 video codec, which Google is making on a royalty-free basis; Vorbis, an open-source and audio codec; and a container format based on a subset of the Matroska media container.

According to Google, VP8 is able to efficiently adapt to a range of processing and bandwidth conditions and is relatively simple making it easier to integrate into existing environments.

Additional WebM supporters include: ARM, Collabora, Digital Rapids, Encoding.com, Grab Networks, iLinc, Inlet Technologies, Kaltura, Logitech, Marvel, MIPS, Nvidia, Ooyala, ooVoo, Skype, Sorenson Media, Telestream, Verisilicon, Viewcast and Wildform.

"The open video option now available with WebM and VP8 will dramatically increase the Web success directly tied to open and freely implementable technologies," Joseph Meehan, video technologist in Texas Instrument's wireless business unit, wrote in a blog post.

Meehan added that VP8 "is the brainchild of 10-plus years of innovation. It is a solid technology that promises the flexibility, efficiency, openness and high-quality that consumers deserve."

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