AfterDawn: Tech news

Google getting ready to set VP8 free

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 13 Apr 2010 7:39 User comments (16)

Google getting ready to set VP8 free As we predicted last year, it appears Google is preparing to turn On2's VP8 video standard into an open source project.
The purchase of On2, which was finalized earlier this year, is part of a larger campaign by Google to include open source, and therefore royalty free, standards in HTML5. As you can see from ChromeOS, Google's web browser-based netbook OS, they are clearly focused completely on web-based computing and even traditional applications using web technology.

NewTeeVee is reporting that Google will make their plans for VP8 official at a developer's conference next month.

This development is part of an ongoing debate between web browser developers about what video format(s) should be supported by HTML5's <video> tag. Supporters of the two leading candidates, H.264 (aka MPEG-4 AVC) and OGG Theora (aka VP3) primarily disagree about royalty models.

Apple and Microsoft favor including H.264 as the standard format for the <video> tag. Although there are royalties collected by the MPEG Licensing Authority (MPEG LA), they have been waived for web browsers until at least 2016.

H.264 has the advantage of being a standard already in use on a wide variety of devices, including computers, mobile phones, Blu-ray players and portable media players like the iPod. It is also widely used for web video. Theora, on the other hand, started as a commercially licensed product from On2, but was later released as an open source project. Although it has been around longer than H.264, that hasn't led to widespread adoption.

Google has a significant impact on web video through their ownership of YouTube. YouTube primarily uses Adobe Flash for video delivery but is also experimenting with HTML5. Flash uses On2's older (commercial) VP6 format and also supports H.264. YouTube's HTML5 video is exclusively in H.264 format right now.

There is no reason to assume Apple or Microsoft will suddenly throw their support behind VP8 any time soon. But if it is superior to H.264, as some people claim, VP8 could still have a future.

The most important question may be whether VP8 offers anything to consumers H.264 doesn't. The average consumer doesn't care whether browser developers use open source software or not. They care whether it is more or less convenient to view pages and consume content.

It is hard to see how Google could hope to make an immediate impact with VP8, but that might not be their strategy at all. They might, instead, be hoping for a success similar to Matroska. Although Matroska started out as a somewhat redundant multimedia container, it came into its own when developers and end users couldn't do what they wanted with commercial tools and industry standard formats.

Matroska's support for Dolby Digital audio with H.264 video in the MKV container suited consumer needs better than re-encoding audio to AAC for MP4 files. Matroska's adoption as a standard format for TV captures was probably the most important factor in finally getting consumer electronics support.

Like Matroska, unless someone comes up with a "killer app" for VP8 it may be relegated to being little more than curiosity for the average consumer.

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16 user comments

113.4.2010 10:10
xaeroak15
Inactive

Open source...too late
Despite the quality,the encoding speed vp6/7, normally is not so fast, if add some parameter, it can be a nightmare.
But still looking forward it.

213.4.2010 14:30

Yea I don't think it's going to go anywhere, BUT it is an important step.

313.4.2010 15:32

Well I'm a bit more optimistic about it. Google has a lot of influence in the video corner of the web, and if anyone can drive forward open source codecs, it's them. It'd be a real pleasure to finally watch YouTube without Flash (in Firefox).

414.4.2010 7:38

Originally posted by nonoitall:
Well I'm a bit more optimistic about it. Google has a lot of influence in the video corner of the web, and if anyone can drive forward open source codecs, it's them. It'd be a real pleasure to finally watch YouTube without Flash (in Firefox).
id say pretty much any browser will be glad to rid itself of the drag that is flash..for the moment theres no help for it

515.4.2010 11:11

Originally posted by Josipher:
Originally posted by nonoitall:
Well I'm a bit more optimistic about it. Google has a lot of influence in the video corner of the web, and if anyone can drive forward open source codecs, it's them. It'd be a real pleasure to finally watch YouTube without Flash (in Firefox).
id say pretty much any browser will be glad to rid itself of the drag that is flash..for the moment theres no help for it
Nonsense - flash has made and continues to make the internet exponentially better - the use of a ubiquitous video format for the past few years being just one of a hundred examples - please get over the meritless flash whine and start to know what your talking about. Google likes so much that it is embedding it in the Chrome OS.

615.4.2010 16:55

Originally posted by TwillieD:
Nonsense - flash has made and continues to make the internet exponentially better
In the same way that CRTs have made and continue to make television exponentially better? Both technologies served a purpose for a time. However, they're both inefficient and bloated (and proprietary in Flash's case) and even though they still have a few pros over modern alternatives, their unwieldy nature leaves them begging to be replaced.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 15 Apr 2010 @ 16:55

715.4.2010 17:17

Quote:
In the same way that CRTs have made and continue to make television exponentially better

Ridiculous comparison - not worth a serious response - outside of drawing attention to your pointless hostility to the technology.

Flash isn't proprietary - saying that it is makes you seem completely uninformed.

Quote:
still have a few pros over modern alternatives

A modicum of objectivity - if you mean that it provides the end user with the hands down best experience available now and for the foreseeable future.

Quote:
inefficient and bloated

baseless, considering what it can accomplish. Any MacBook can run multiple flash websites, an email program, photoshop, premiere, and itunes at the same time without missing a beat. I presume it should do your ironing as well.

815.4.2010 22:11

Originally posted by TwillieD:
Quote:
In the same way that CRTs have made and continue to make television exponentially better

Ridiculous comparison - not worth a serious response - outside of drawing attention to your pointless hostility to the technology.

Flash isn't proprietary - saying that it is makes you seem completely uninformed.

--------------------------------------------------------------
Reply:
You couldn't be MORE WRONG! Macromedia was the originator and now Adobe holds the rights to Flash technology. Your ignorance is in full steam here.

Wiki on Flash:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adobe_Flash

I say good riddens to Flash it is a nightmare period and full of headaches. I use up to 3 different players for Flash videos as just one can't do the job well for all. If VP8 is a better format I'm all for it or we can just use avi, mp4, mpeg-4, m4v, mkv or whatever.

Personally I think the H.264 MPEG-4 or MKV format is just fine, good compression & video quality which of course Divx provides too under the same bases.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 15 Apr 2010 @ 22:25

915.4.2010 23:55

It's okay, Mr-Movies. Given TwillieD's last sentence, I get the impression his posts may have just been an attempt at sarcasm.

1016.4.2010 0:05

Originally posted by Mr-Movies:
Originally posted by TwillieD:
Quote:
In the same way that CRTs have made and continue to make television exponentially better

Ridiculous comparison - not worth a serious response - outside of drawing attention to your pointless hostility to the technology.

Flash isn't proprietary - saying that it is makes you seem completely uninformed.

--------------------------------------------------------------
Reply:
You couldn't be MORE WRONG! Macromedia was the originator and now Adobe holds the rights to Flash technology. Your ignorance is in full steam here.

Wiki on Flash:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adobe_Flash

I say good riddens to Flash it is a nightmare period and full of headaches. I use up to 3 different players for Flash videos as just one can't do the job well for all. If VP8 is a better format I'm all for it or we can just use avi, mp4, mpeg-4, m4v, mkv or whatever.

Personally I think the H.264 MPEG-4 or MKV format is just fine, good compression & video quality which of course Divx provides too under the same bases.
No even close. Typing in all caps doesn't make you any less wrong - just obnoxious - sort of like your position regarding Flash. It's a great technology and having such baseless hostility towards it makes almost no sense. Video is just one of the positive impacts Flash has had on the web and there are dozens of others. Unsubstantiated stories of needing multiple players to view the most ubiquitous video format on the web rings hollow and is just plain sad. Essentially, you need to lighten up and educate yourself before you call someone ignorant online and make yourself out to be a buffoon. Stop yelling at about Flash and consider some of these points.

The SWF file format is available as an open specification to create products and technology that implement the specification - so Adobe's Flash Player is proprietary but its specification is open source allowing anyone to build a Flash Player or an swf movie if they chose to do so.

There are dozens of swf creation programs for free and for purchase - just Google 'swf maker' or 'swf creator'.

According to the wiki page that you posted, which is riddled with overstated criticisms and inaccuracies about flash, it is also possible to create SWF files programmatically using the Ming library, which has interfaces for C, PHP, C++, Perl, Python, and Ruby.

Your wiki link also includes a section on the Open Screen Project which is making great strides to improve the openness of the technology. It states that the specifications removing the restrictions on the use of SWF and FLV/F4V specs have been published. The Flash Cast protocol—now known as the Mobile Content Delivery Protocol—and AMF protocols have also been made available, with AMF available as an open source implementation, BlazeDS. Adobe intends to remove the licensing fees for Flash Player and Adobe AIR for devices at their release for the Open Screen Project. The list of mobile device providers who have joined the project includes Palm, Motorola and Nokia, who, together with Adobe, have announced a $10 million Open Screen Project fund.

Then there is FlashBuilder 4, a tool that makes Flash creation as simple as editing HTML. Adobe giving it away for free as an educational tool! Or you can purchase the professional version. Same deal with the FlexBuilder with the added free Flex 4 SDK - for more advanced users but free.

Finally, since you seem to like H.264 - here's some important info to remember - Ian Hickson of Google & David Hyatt of Apple are the 2 main editors of the HTML5 spec. and Apple is one of the patent holders for H.264. The patent holders of H.264 are charging licensing fees to browser companies for its use in their implementation. Hardly, a small conflict of interests but transparent if you're willing to look.

1116.4.2010 0:31

Originally posted by TwillieD:
Originally posted by Mr-Movies:
Originally posted by TwillieD:
Quote:
In the same way that CRTs have made and continue to make television exponentially better

Ridiculous comparison - not worth a serious response - outside of drawing attention to your pointless hostility to the technology.

Flash isn't proprietary - saying that it is makes you seem completely uninformed.

--------------------------------------------------------------
Reply:
You couldn't be MORE WRONG! Macromedia was the originator and now Adobe holds the rights to Flash technology. Your ignorance is in full steam here.

Wiki on Flash:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adobe_Flash

I say good riddens to Flash it is a nightmare period and full of headaches. I use up to 3 different players for Flash videos as just one can't do the job well for all. If VP8 is a better format I'm all for it or we can just use avi, mp4, mpeg-4, m4v, mkv or whatever.

Personally I think the H.264 MPEG-4 or MKV format is just fine, good compression & video quality which of course Divx provides too under the same bases.
No even close. Typing in all caps doesn't make you any less wrong - just obnoxious - sort of like your position regarding Flash. It's a great technology and having such baseless hostility towards it makes almost no sense. Video is just one of the positive impacts Flash has had on the web and there are dozens of others. Unsubstantiated stories of needing multiple players to view the most ubiquitous video format on the web rings hollow and is just plain sad. Essentially, you need to lighten up and educate yourself before you call someone ignorant online and make yourself out to be a buffoon. Stop yelling at about Flash and consider some of these points.

The SWF file format is available as an open specification to create products and technology that implement the specification - so Adobe's Flash Player is proprietary but its specification is open source allowing anyone to build a Flash Player or an swf movie if they chose to do so.

There are dozens of swf creation programs for free and for purchase - just Google 'swf maker' or 'swf creator'.

According to the wiki page that you posted, which is riddled with overstated criticisms and inaccuracies about flash, it is also possible to create SWF files programmatically using the Ming library, which has interfaces for C, PHP, C++, Perl, Python, and Ruby.

Your wiki link also includes a section on the Open Screen Project which is making great strides to improve the openness of the technology. It states that the specifications removing the restrictions on the use of SWF and FLV/F4V specs have been published. The Flash Cast protocol—now known as the Mobile Content Delivery Protocol—and AMF protocols have also been made available, with AMF available as an open source implementation, BlazeDS. Adobe intends to remove the licensing fees for Flash Player and Adobe AIR for devices at their release for the Open Screen Project. The list of mobile device providers who have joined the project includes Palm, Motorola and Nokia, who, together with Adobe, have announced a $10 million Open Screen Project fund.

Then there is FlashBuilder 4, a tool that makes Flash creation as simple as editing HTML. Adobe giving it away for free as an educational tool! Or you can purchase the professional version. Same deal with the FlexBuilder with the added free Flex 4 SDK - for more advanced users but free.

Finally, since you seem to like H.264 - here's some important info to remember - Ian Hickson of Google & David Hyatt of Apple are the 2 main editors of the HTML5 spec. and Apple is one of the patent holders for H.264. The patent holders of H.264 are charging licensing fees to browser companies for its use in their implementation. Hardly, a small conflict of interests but transparent if you're willing to look.
Originally posted by TwillieD:
Originally posted by Mr-Movies:
Originally posted by TwillieD:
Quote:
In the same way that CRTs have made and continue to make television exponentially better

Ridiculous comparison - not worth a serious response - outside of drawing attention to your pointless hostility to the technology.

Flash isn't proprietary - saying that it is makes you seem completely uninformed.

--------------------------------------------------------------
Reply:
You couldn't be MORE WRONG! Macromedia was the originator and now Adobe holds the rights to Flash technology. Your ignorance is in full steam here.

Wiki on Flash:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adobe_Flash

I say good riddens to Flash it is a nightmare period and full of headaches. I use up to 3 different players for Flash videos as just one can't do the job well for all. If VP8 is a better format I'm all for it or we can just use avi, mp4, mpeg-4, m4v, mkv or whatever.

Personally I think the H.264 MPEG-4 or MKV format is just fine, good compression & video quality which of course Divx provides too under the same bases.
No even close. Typing in all caps doesn't make you any less wrong - just obnoxious - sort of like your position regarding Flash. It's a great technology and having such baseless hostility towards it makes almost no sense. Video is just one of the positive impacts Flash has had on the web and there are dozens of others. Unsubstantiated stories of needing multiple players to view the most ubiquitous video format on the web rings hollow and is just plain sad. Essentially, you need to lighten up and educate yourself before you call someone ignorant online and make yourself out to be a buffoon. Stop yelling at about Flash and consider some of these points.

The SWF file format is available as an open specification to create products and technology that implement the specification - so Adobe's Flash Player is proprietary but its specification is open source allowing anyone to build a Flash Player or an swf movie if they chose to do so.

There are dozens of swf creation programs for free and for purchase - just Google 'swf maker' or 'swf creator'.

According to the wiki page that you posted, which is riddled with overstated criticisms and inaccuracies about flash, it is also possible to create SWF files programmatically using the Ming library, which has interfaces for C, PHP, C++, Perl, Python, and Ruby.

Your wiki link also includes a section on the Open Screen Project which is making great strides to improve the openness of the technology. It states that the specifications removing the restrictions on the use of SWF and FLV/F4V specs have been published. The Flash Cast protocol—now known as the Mobile Content Delivery Protocol—and AMF protocols have also been made available, with AMF available as an open source implementation, BlazeDS. Adobe intends to remove the licensing fees for Flash Player and Adobe AIR for devices at their release for the Open Screen Project. The list of mobile device providers who have joined the project includes Palm, Motorola and Nokia, who, together with Adobe, have announced a $10 million Open Screen Project fund.

Then there is FlashBuilder 4, a tool that makes Flash creation as simple as editing HTML. Adobe giving it away for free as an educational tool! Or you can purchase the professional version. Same deal with the FlexBuilder with the added free Flex 4 SDK - for more advanced users but free.

Finally, since you seem to like H.264 - here's some important info to remember - Ian Hickson of Google & David Hyatt of Apple are the 2 main editors of the HTML5 spec. and Apple is one of the patent holders for H.264. The patent holders of H.264 are charging licensing fees to browser companies for its use in their implementation. Hardly, a small conflict of interests but transparent if you're willing to look.
well at least there is one fool that likes it, good luck with that. ;)

1216.4.2010 5:02

Originally posted by TwillieD:
It's a great technology and having such baseless hostility towards it makes almost no sense.
It also makes little sense to have hostility towards anyone who doesn't think Flash is the best thing since sliced bread.
Quote:
Video is just one of the positive impacts Flash has had on the web and there are dozens of others.
True enough, but now that open web standards are becoming mature enough to handle that functionality, why should we be married to a closed-source plugin?
Quote:
Unsubstantiated stories of needing multiple players to view the most ubiquitous video format on the web rings hollow and is just plain sad. Essentially, you need to lighten up and educate yourself before you call someone ignorant online and make yourself out to be a buffoon.
I think your advice about lightening up would be very beneficial - not just to us, but to you as well.

Quote:
The SWF file format is available as an open specification to create products and technology that implement the specification - so Adobe's Flash Player is proprietary but its specification is open source allowing anyone to build a Flash Player or an swf movie if they chose to do so.
The "openness" of Flash has constantly been riddled with non-disclosure agreements or other restrictions on how the specification may be used. Only very recently has the standard really begun to open up - oddly coinciding with pressure from other maturing and truly open technologies.

Quote:
There are dozens of swf creation programs for free and for purchase - just Google 'swf maker' or 'swf creator'.
Have you tried doing this? Every product I found using those searches was trial or demo software. I'm not saying it's impossible to produce Flash material with open source software, but it's not as simple as you're making it out to be. But regardless of how easy/difficult it is to create Flash content, viewing Flash content is the primary concern facing most users on the web.

Quote:
Your wiki link also includes a section on the Open Screen Project which is making great strides to improve the openness of the technology. It states that the specifications removing the restrictions on the use of SWF and FLV/F4V specs have been published. The Flash Cast protocol—now known as the Mobile Content Delivery Protocol—and AMF protocols have also been made available, with AMF available as an open source implementation, BlazeDS. Adobe intends to remove the licensing fees for Flash Player and Adobe AIR for devices at their release for the Open Screen Project. The list of mobile device providers who have joined the project includes Palm, Motorola and Nokia, who, together with Adobe, have announced a $10 million Open Screen Project fund.
Heh, there's a funny old saying about "good intentions". For the time being, their "open" specification still remains incomplete.

Quote:
Then there is FlashBuilder 4, a tool that makes Flash creation as simple as editing HTML. Adobe giving it away for free as an educational tool! Or you can purchase the professional version. Same deal with the FlexBuilder with the added free Flex 4 SDK - for more advanced users but free.
I've never been interested in creating Flash material, but isn't FlexBuilder just the old name for FlashBuilder (which is also more trial software)? That's not even free of charge, let alone open source software.

Quote:
Finally, since you seem to like H.264 - here's some important info to remember - Ian Hickson of Google & David Hyatt of Apple are the 2 main editors of the HTML5 spec. and Apple is one of the patent holders for H.264. The patent holders of H.264 are charging licensing fees to browser companies for its use in their implementation. Hardly, a small conflict of interests but transparent if you're willing to look.
All the same, this very article is discussing an alternative to H.264 that Google themselves are opening up.

1316.4.2010 5:13
Paula_X
Inactive

what people miss is the proprietary nature of all these codecs.. for years there have been open free alternatives.. ogg video to name but one and for the HD sheeple there is the very mature open x264 (NOT the proprietary M$ owned pile of crap that is H264)

good riddance to flash.. ogg video is as old as that, but in"payware" windows sheep world it hasn't been supported by the "you WILL pay us our ripoff charges for our software" web developers and site owners.. let alone the viewer and operating system monopolists..

same goes for java.. another obsolete buggy bloated heap of rubbish, used by incompetent and lazy coders to make things look "pretty" without having to learn some smart coding.. clever css will do everything on a site that java will.. so why is the internet riddled with the huge security risk?.. lazyness and site owners employing incompetent coders.

1416.4.2010 10:58

Originally posted by nonoitall:
Originally posted by TwillieD:
It's a great technology and having such baseless hostility towards it makes almost no sense.
It also makes little sense to have hostility towards anyone who doesn't think Flash is the best thing since sliced bread.
Quote:
Video is just one of the positive impacts Flash has had on the web and there are dozens of others.
True enough, but now that open web standards are becoming mature enough to handle that functionality, why should we be married to a closed-source plugin?
Quote:
Unsubstantiated stories of needing multiple players to view the most ubiquitous video format on the web rings hollow and is just plain sad. Essentially, you need to lighten up and educate yourself before you call someone ignorant online and make yourself out to be a buffoon.
I think your advice about lightening up would be very beneficial - not just to us, but to you as well.

Quote:
The SWF file format is available as an open specification to create products and technology that implement the specification - so Adobe's Flash Player is proprietary but its specification is open source allowing anyone to build a Flash Player or an swf movie if they chose to do so.
The "openness" of Flash has constantly been riddled with non-disclosure agreements or other restrictions on how the specification may be used. Only very recently has the standard really begun to open up - oddly coinciding with pressure from other maturing and truly open technologies.

Quote:
There are dozens of swf creation programs for free and for purchase - just Google 'swf maker' or 'swf creator'.
Have you tried doing this? Every product I found using those searches was trial or demo software. I'm not saying it's impossible to produce Flash material with open source software, but it's not as simple as you're making it out to be. But regardless of how easy/difficult it is to create Flash content, viewing Flash content is the primary concern facing most users on the web.

Quote:
Your wiki link also includes a section on the Open Screen Project which is making great strides to improve the openness of the technology. It states that the specifications removing the restrictions on the use of SWF and FLV/F4V specs have been published. The Flash Cast protocol—now known as the Mobile Content Delivery Protocol—and AMF protocols have also been made available, with AMF available as an open source implementation, BlazeDS. Adobe intends to remove the licensing fees for Flash Player and Adobe AIR for devices at their release for the Open Screen Project. The list of mobile device providers who have joined the project includes Palm, Motorola and Nokia, who, together with Adobe, have announced a $10 million Open Screen Project fund.
Heh, there's a funny old saying about "good intentions". For the time being, their "open" specification still remains incomplete.

Quote:
Then there is FlashBuilder 4, a tool that makes Flash creation as simple as editing HTML. Adobe giving it away for free as an educational tool! Or you can purchase the professional version. Same deal with the FlexBuilder with the added free Flex 4 SDK - for more advanced users but free.
I've never been interested in creating Flash material, but isn't FlexBuilder just the old name for FlashBuilder (which is also more trial software)? That's not even free of charge, let alone open source software.

Quote:
Finally, since you seem to like H.264 - here's some important info to remember - Ian Hickson of Google & David Hyatt of Apple are the 2 main editors of the HTML5 spec. and Apple is one of the patent holders for H.264. The patent holders of H.264 are charging licensing fees to browser companies for its use in their implementation. Hardly, a small conflict of interests but transparent if you're willing to look.
All the same, this very article is discussing an alternative to H.264 that Google themselves are opening up.

The only point that you make that has any substance is the one about me taking my own advice. I'm embarrassed of both the tone of my first post to you and the use of the word buffoon in another post - sorry for that - definitely not intellectually compelling. Honestly, that being said, everything else in your post just comes across as hostile obstinance towards an outstanding technology. You're hardly alone - it's currently en vogue to attack Flash and the recent maneuvering of Mr. Jobs has pushed the complaints into the spotlight. However, the bottomline is that none of the attacks hold much water. No one has or is saying anything about 'sliced bread', having to be 'married' to a particular medium, or that all Flash tools are free. Flash isn't perfect - it also isn't bloated, inefficient, closed-source, or out to do nefarious deeds. It is in a class all it's own as far as capability and user-experience which is why everything from AJAX to HTML5 attempts to emulate it. Simply choosing not to use the technology for subjective reasons or having a preferable alternative is one thing, vilifying and spreading misinformation about that technology is another.

1516.4.2010 18:10

Thank you for your apology, and sorry if I come across as hostile, as I'm only interested in a civil discussion.

I couldn't care less about what Steve Jobs thinks of any technology. My distaste for Flash comes solely from my own experience with it. The fact is, it has only one, proprietary implementation - an implementation that leaves a lot to be desired. I'm not impressed when the only time someone is willing to open up their specs is when their hand is forced by competing technologies. And these technologies are more than just competition with Flash - they're being adopted as official standards on the web. Flash was never open enough for that. People have just been stuck with it for so long that it became a de facto "standard".

Video could finally move into the core of the web after ages of being handled by a closed-source, third-party plugin based on a hardly open spec. I'm just happy about it is all. If you're not, that's cool.


1620.4.2010 18:47

For your readers' convenience, there are hundreds of free Standards available here...

http://infostore.saiglobal.com/store/get...e-Standards.htm

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