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WebM: An Open-Sourced VP8  (View post)

mbegin [PersonRank 10]

Wednesday, May 19, 2010
6 years ago5,862 views

<< Google unveiled an open-source, royalty-free video format called WebM on Wednesday, lining up commitments from Mozilla and Opera to support the encoding technology in their browsers and pledging to support it on its YouTube site.

"The WebM project is dedicated to developing a high-quality, open video format for the Web that is freely available to everyone," the WebM Web page states. As expected, Google made the move in conjunction with its Google I/O conference Wednesday...

The format is based on the VP8 technology that Google acquired from On2 Technologies in February. It also uses the Ogg Vorbis audio technology that also has its origins with On2. >>

news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-200 ...

DPic [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

The format war has finally been won

webmproject.org/

Check out the FAQ: webmproject.org/about/faq/

What does everyone think? Any criticisms?

It would be awesome if they gave this to Xiph after it gets off the
ground, but i supposed that's asking too much. It also would've been
cool to see this built on Ogg, but Matroska is still open. The name
WebM makes it sound too web-specific, but that's not a huge deal.
That's about all i can think of for now

TOMHTML [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

Microsoft news about that: windowsteamblog.com/windows/b/ ...

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

This is really fantastic news for video on the web and on portable devices. Google is adopting it; so are Mozilla and Opera; Microsoft is accommodating it on IE9...

What's apple going to do? If they accommodate it, even as grudgingly as Microsoft is doing, then the video format wars are over (at least until we need a resolution greater than 16384x16384 pixels, and that's a while away).

DPic [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

Here are some serious concerns from a possibly biased source: x264dev.multimedia.cx/?p=377

ianf [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

> The format war has finally been won

I'll believe it when I see it making a sizable dent in the video-delivery market. Whenever that comes (and, as you're well aware, the hailed patentlessness of the format may be anything but.)

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

I think Google has put all the right things in the right places for this to be an unambiguous success.

The choice of Matroska as the container is important because it supports true live streaming (unlike most others that just simulate streaming by sending down a series of small files). So it's going to have wide applicability beyond YouTube-type videos, all the way to live internet TV.

Google claims to have plenty of hardware manufacturers on board, including ARM and NVidia. They will have done their technical homework, and with WebM on their products, it's sure to gain critical mass for hardware-accelerated video (iPods notwithstanding).

The format has not been hailed as patentless by Google. No complex codec can be absolutely guaranteed to be patent-free. However, Google has covered all their bases here. The patent grant for WebM is instantly revoked if anyone sues. Now suppose you're the holder of a patent and you want to sue. Are you really going to risk losing all future rights to use a standard that is likely to become dominant? No way. If you have a weak case, you'll just drop it. And if you have a strong case, you'll do a patent cross-licensing deal with Google (or some other out-of-court settlement).

There will be a few people who will "try it on" through the courts, but they won't affect the use of the format. The underlying codec (VP8) is very similar in many ways to H264, so Google will have a clear understanding of any patent exposure. And it's likely that Google has acquired a few key patents with VP8 that could be used against H264 as good negotiating fodder. It's not just a one-way thing.

Bear in mind, too, that the hardware manufacturers wouldn't have come on board if they were not satisfied about the patent situation.

Finally, bear in mind that there are only a couple of countries that enforce software patents anyway, so it's no big deal outside of the US.

ianf [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

> it's no big deal outside of the US.

That's correct, but, given weight of US- and G8-centrism, mere threat of future costly court wrangling can stiffle development and deployment of key technologies anywhere.

I am not competent to judge the superiority of the V8-codec/ Matroska-wrapper combo over the existing H.264-and-whatever (QT?), but, if Google has fone to such legal lengths as you say to have few winning arguments in its hand, why didn't they just go the whole hog and strike a deal with whoever holds the rights to the well-established dominant (and certainly not outdated) codec(s) now?

Above 8 comments were made in the forum before this was blogged,

Luka [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

Zorgloob Benchmark for Flash / H264 / WebM

go.zorgloob.com/webm

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

> why didn't [Google] just go the whole hog and strike a deal with
> whoever holds the rights to the well-established dominant (and
> certainly not outdated) codec(s) now?

The owners of those rights were not prepared to license them in such a way that they could have been used by open source projects such as Firefox.

So Google bought the company that had produced the "next best thing", which enabled Google to release it under an open source license. It's early days yet for VP8, and no doubt Google intends to work on it until it becomes the "best thing".

ianf [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

[put at-character here]Luka – if the results are in separate screenshots, then they're pretty difficult to compare. I suggest you combine the SD and HD outputs for the three platforms, remove the browser chrome, and post again as a single 2x3 compound graphic.

ianf [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

FYI: » Google’s “Royalty-Free” WebM Video May Not Be Royalty-Free For Long « [patent pool already in the making] digitaldaily.allthingsd.com/20 ...

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

6 years ago #

Well naturally MPEG/LA are worried about a possible erosion of their H.264 income stream, and would love to charge royalties for VP8. But unless they quote patent numbers, it's just FUD. If they do quote patent numbers, then we can see how Google responds.

This thread is locked as it's old... but you can create a new thread in the forum. 

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