back to article Google teaches Microsoft's IE9 to love open video codec

Updated: This story has been updated to show that the software offered by Google is not a browser plugin per se – though Google originally called it a plugin on its download page. It's software that installs on Windows and it can be used by other Windows applications. You can find an update here. Google has released software …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    And in true wiki style...

    The "known issues" and "installer help" page says "This page not yet available."

  2. David Dawson

    The real question in my mind

    Is when will Flash support VP8?

    Seems to me that that single action could decide the whole argument.

    Everyone could encode to VP8, display in HTML5 video on FF, chrome, opera et al and then fall back to flash on the others.

    1. Ilgaz


      Industry has spent billions of dollars for h264 codec and they don't really give a sh*t to open source patent fanaticism.

      Even Nokia s40 (that is billion devices) plays h264.

      I wished it wasn't Google pushing this stupid idea so IT media could really give insight to codecs and their purpose and also why they cost money.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        @Ilgaz 15-03-2011 21:43

        Codecs = mathematics and therefore not patentable

        1. Anonymous Coward

          In that case

          Pharmaceuticals = chemistry so therefore not patentable.

          So where will the likes of SmithKline get the 100's of billions of dollars for research they currently spend, handouts, taxes?

          Please tell me oh enlightened one

        2. mhenriday

          Right on, anonymous coward !

          But alas, to more adequately describe reality, the equation would have to read :

          Codecs = mathematics (mathematical algorithms) and therefore should not be patentable....

          At present, just about everything seems patentable that a sufficiently well-paid team of patent lawyers deems patentable. Splendid way to keep control of innovation in the hands of those to whom it belongs by natural right, i e, those with bags of money....


      2. fandom

        Works both ways

        >> Industry has spent billions of dollars for h264 codec and they don't

        >> really give a sh*t to open source patent fanaticism.

        Likewise Google couldn't care less about what the 'industry' has spent on h264.

        1. Ilgaz

          Visit a TV studio sometime

          I guess they give free tours of TV studios, large networks. You can visit sometime and see the infrasacture there. I bet you can even see a U-matic at some basement like space.

          TV and Movie industry can't really joke around with established standards, for them to give up h264, you must give them a real, unique advancement. Copying h264 missing the good (and patented) parts won't cut it.

          We at TV industry care about a single thing: standards and documentation, availability from muitiple brands, software support, backwards compatibility. VP8 has none of them.

    2. Tom Visser


      I'm sure that Adobe recognizes that this would be a self-defeating move.

      1. MacroRodent Silver badge

        Not self-defeating

        Adobe already supports a number of codecs. Adding VP8 would just be more of the same. One has to remember the real value of Flash is not just being a video container, but a technology for making cross-platform and cross-browser applets, ads, games and so on. Whatever is the video codec is a trivial issue for them.

      2. Gerhard Mack

        @Tom Visser eventually

        Adobe has already agreed to support VP8 in flash but the problem is they never do anything quickly.

    3. Miek
      Thumb Up

      VP8 for Flash Under Development

      This is under development, I was interested to see if it would be included in 10.2

  3. Trib

    More standards.....

    The major issue is that VP8 isn't support is most hardware yet, where as H.264 is. While not a major issue on desktop system, for mobile this is a huge issue as H.264 in hardware offers better performance and battery life. While I commend Google for making VP8 open and free. I think they in the long run have make the issue more complex instead of less.

    1. Tom Visser


      They will probably end up coexisting. H.264 licensing seems to leave open the possibility that the licensors could stick it to you with fees at their absolute discretion. VP8 will hopefully prevent IP holders from abusing power.

      2-3 years from now every smartphone will have both VP8 and H264 hardware acceleration.

    2. Ilgaz

      They don't even act like caring

      On Symbian at least, you can actually add a codec to system itself, pretty much like quicktime and windows media codecs. Oggplay does it for years and it is a single developer project.

      Of course, Google didn't spend time for it. As they are also rich, they could of course hire a company like coreplayer guys and ship something that would even beat he SoC acceleration you mention.

      On professional level, it is even more clear. You ship a quicktime encoder/decoder component along with "avi" based component for windows. If you don't ship or outsource, your codec doesn't exist. Professional must see "vp8" in FCP. I don't even mention the more advanced tools or dedicated cards which simply doesn't exist.

      1. Goat Jam


        "You ship a quicktime encoder/decoder component along with "avi" based component for windows."

        Both Quicktime and AVI are containers, not codecs.

        1. Ilgaz


          well, in media industry there are 2 major camps for pro video editing, "quicktime based" (fcp,avid etc.) and "avi based" (adobe premiere, video toaster etc.) I exactly speak about containers. The split would never happen if apple/avid fight didn't break out. Avi is and always will be a joke as a container, especially for timecode issues.

          Just like "betacam" is actually "digital betacam" at least.

  4. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Jad
      Thumb Down

      IE ...

      While I'm not a fan of IE, and I don't use it (I can't since I don't run Windows) ... I'm not looking for it to die, too many people use it, too many people like the interface.

      The sooner the old versions of IE die the better, and the sooner the people who want to stay with IE get the latest version, with support and updates automatically from MS, the safer the whole web experience will be for a lot of people.

      Just because you don't like something doesn't make it a reason to remove it from the planet.

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      2. Lewis Mettler

        do not need to remove it

        You do not need to remove it from the planet.

        But, significant harm is caused by forcing the purchase.

        If buying IE were an option instead of a requirement, it and other inferior solutions would just die away.

        Remember, if you have a copy of IE, your opinion simply does not matter.

  5. sleepy

    The real problem

    No one can be sure this really is royalty free, because patent battles haven't happened yet. Google aren't indemnifying users from litigation. So for now, it's not safe legally, is it? Quite apart from the billion or more devices in the field that are H264 accelerated, but can't be VP8 accelerated.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      MPEG-LA don't indemnify either

      By your reasoning h264 isn't legally safe either. MPEG-LA will license a bundle of patents that might read on h264, but they don't guarantee it covers all the patents needed. IIRC there is at least one patent claimed to be necessary but not included in the bundle.

      Google claim VP8 isn't patent encumbered, and so far nobody has come forward with specific claims to the contrary. There has been much handwaving from MPEG-LA along the lines of 'we think it must be covered by some patents' but they don't seem able to point to any actual patents.

      Neither h264 nor VP8 are immune from someone appearing tomorrow with a patent and a claim for royalties. It could be a submarine that's just surfaced, or one that just hasn't been noticed before. Either way you won't be indemnified. The only way to be sure there aren't any patents covering a codec (or anything else for that matter) is for it to be old enough that any patents that might cover it have expired.

  6. A. Nervosa
    Thumb Down


    One set of browsers ship with codec 1 and a plug-in for codec 2, and the other set of browsers ship with codec 2 and a plug-in for codec 1. Net result, bugger all.

    Wake me up when one of the browser manufacturers actively blocks the codec they don't want.

    1. Lewis Mettler

      but one is a forced purchase

      One of the browser manufacturers does force all of its customers to purchase IE.

      Oh rats, I gave away the punch line.

      Just remember (and yes I am getting tired of saying this) if you have a copy of IE, your opinion simply does not count. Not here. Not at the store. Not anywhere.

    2. L1feless

      This is likely to happen with Safari I think...

      I can see Safari taking this route and not allowing VP8 support.

      Another angle which I am sure MPEG-LA has not considered is that patent holders likely don't want to be in the way of Google who are attempting to throw the end users a life-line from a clearly greedy patent pool. i could see patent holders approaching Google for a 1-time payout and accepting the free positive publicity for joining the open-codec cause.

  7. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Nudging towards WebM?

    At present, their FAQ for the new plug-in says "we won't do IE8 because it doesn't do HTML5's <video>" which may be fair enough in the context of this one small product.

    However, if they are serious about forcing a battle on the issue of WebM-versus-H.264, they'll need to offer WebM support in IE8, since 50% of the IE user-base is now stuck with that browser. Either that, or they'll need to really push hard to get all those XP users onto another browser. There's not a cat's chance of doing that in the locked-down corporate market, which has only just been weaned off IE6, but that market is probably blocked from GooTube anyway, so the plan is not entirely ridiculous.

    1. Lewis Mettler

      by locked down you mean?

      By locked down you mean the corporates do not have a choice of which technology they use?

      I think that is what you said.

      Again, if you have a copy of IE, your opinion does not matter.

      If you do not vote with your money at the time of purchase, you do not vote at all.

  8. big_D Silver badge

    Only really relevant when...

    We finally get video cameras which can record in WebM.

    At the moment, most cameras use H.264, which is a lossy codec. WebM is a lossy codec. Converting the H.264 into WebM means a loss of quality and therefore a lesser user experience.

    1. Miek

      WebM is available in Android 2.3

      Not entirely a Video-camera, but it's a start. :)

  9. Wang N Staines


    is too busy trying to please Apple to care!

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