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Google launches WebM, the video format for the web based on VP8

Google launches WebM, the video format for the web based on VP8 –

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Google's intention to release the VP8 codec as open source had been known for some time and this idea had been hypothesized since the acquisition (in February of last year) of ON2 Technology, the company that developed the original codec. Google's public announcement, however, arrived today, making a new format called WebM official. It is a container format based on Matroska, packaged with VP8 video and Ogg Vorbis audio stream. According to Google, the format can also be reproduced on not excessively powerful devices such as netbooks, tablets and smartphones and the encoding profiles are customizable and allow you to limit the quality in the creation phase of the WebM files. The open source format, distributed with a royalty-free BSD license model, thus eliminating the concerns of the H.264 licensing system. Mozilla now supports the format and has begun to include the necessary support in Firefox's nightly builds (preliminary versions released daily for developers and testers). The nightly builds of Chromium (the open source browser from which Google Chrome derives) already support WebM, Chrome users will be able to download the versions that support WebM from May 24 and Opera indicates in support "coming soon".

Google supporter WebM also in YouTube (it will be possible to select it as default among the options) and therefore foreseeable that in a short time it will become a widely known and accepted format. It is not yet clear if Microsoft and Apple intend to support the format and if they will include the necessary codecs in Safari and Explorer (including mobile phone platforms) but among the supporters we find Adobe (which has made it known that it will incorporate the necessary support in Flash) and producers hardware such as: AMD, ARM, Broadcom, Freescale, NVIDIA, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments (note that a big caliber like Intel is missing).

The always rather reliable Mary Jo Foley of ZDnet says that Microsoft will support the format in Explorer 9, but the house of Redmond could also opt for the installation of an optional codec on Windows (thus limiting the mass diffusion of the format). Recall that the browser developers of the Redmond house have repeatedly stated that they want to fully support HTML5 and that the future version of the browser will by default integrate support for H264.

(By Mauro Notarianni)

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