Chrome drops support for H.264 codec

By on January 12, 2011
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Google will now only support WebM citing “open codec” reasons.

Google has announced that it will be dropping H.264 codec support from its popular Internet browser Chrome.

H.264 is thought to be the perfect codec for HTML5 video tagging, with many websites and prominent companies announcing support for the codec for royalty-free nature. Microsoft had last year announced that its upcoming Internet Explorer 9 will only support the codec for their HTML5 video tag.

However, Google has raised concerns over H.264 staying a royalty-free despite MPEG LA confirming that they have no plans to charge for the use of the codec.

Hence, Google Chrome will now only support Google’s own WebM (VP8) and Theora codec as they are both “completely open codec technologies.”

“We expect even more rapid innovation in the web media platform in the coming year and are focusing our investments in those technologies that are developed and licensed based on open web principles. 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, ” said Product Manager Mike Jazayeri on the Chromium blog.

The move has me slightly confused. On one hand Google claims full support for all things ‘open-source’, and yet bashes Apple for not supporting Flash? Supporting WebM makes it look like Google is trying to force their standards upon others than actually caring about open-source technologies.

Google says the changes will occur in the next couple months.


Mufaddal Fakhruddin is the Editor for IGN ME and thinks writing in third person about himself in an about me section is weird.

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