One of the latest news buzzing in the tech world is the fact that Google has clearly announced that it wants the WebM and not the H.264 for its HTML5 video chats on Google Chrome from now on. Considering that Apple did the very same thing a while back – that is replace the Flash with its own version of open video, it is strange that Google is being criticized for the same action – but it shouldn’t be surprising. After all, what Apple does, Google will follow and what Google does, Apple will follow. Not only are the two competitors, they are contemporaries as well.
Which is why, arises the very question as to why Google made this move. It may simply be answered by saying that Google wanted to keep up with Apple, but for Google, it means integrating all their platforms such as YouTube, Chat etc from the H.264 to the WebM codec, and apart from the efforts, this is an expensive deal to begin with. In the long term, it makes sense of course and Google wants to take the WebM seriously. Google also wants to integrate it into all their products, including the Android as time goes on, and especially for web content, where video is all important, revenue will come in the form of video ads which will be a huge profit making advantage for Google. For a huge company like Google, this makes more sense. That is, develop their own software and codec and install it in their machines early in the day.
Critics of Google’s decision say that dropping an open source resource like the H.264 is a bad move and that it will discourage the use of Google products altogether. But in the world of technology where companies are fast evolving to create their own individual ecosystems which are completely independent, this move seems to be right up the alley for Google’s long term plans – and it is clear that any move Google is making now is towards the development of its long term projects. This means that Google is really implying that every other service like Chrome, Opera, Internet Explorer and Skype are expected to shift bases too – at best, a strategic move, at worst a power tactic to manipulate the direction of audio and video conferencing.
But while all this still stands, there is something yet to say about H.264, it is the most preferred resource for mobile phones and it is unlikely that Google is going to disrupt that anytime soon, especially in Androids if it does not want to bear the wrath of its customers. While Google may want to piggyback on Apple’s move, all Android versions still support H.264 and WebM will not find it so easy to compete on that platform, at least right now. It is possible that Google wants to encourage WebM to make the WebRTC more popular, but for now – while Google makes its best to move into its own ecosystem, WebM has a bit of struggle ahead.
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