back to article Google hits 'fast forward' button on WebM codec love for YouTube

Google is transcoding all freshly uploaded videos into the WebM format on its popular YouTube website, and it wants the world to know about it. The company, which has been slotting the codec into YouTube in recent months, reaffirmed the move in a blog post yesterday. Google's back catalogue of most heavily viewed videos ( …


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  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    And so it begins

    Internet Explorer and Safari users are now second class web citizens. Opera, Chrome and Firefox are the future.

    I've now put all the relatives who I "support" for PC stuff onto Opera 11.10, and they almost entirely love it, especially when I show them really handy tricks that make their browsing easier....

    1. ArmanX
      Thumb Up

      About time!

      I don't care if you use Opera, Firefox, or Chrome... just leave off the default OS browsers. I use Opera, but I honestly don't care if anyone uses it - as long as they use something that isn't IE.

      If nothing else, Opera is loads easier to code for!

      1. M Gale

        Loads easier to code for?

        So I make my site work in Firefox and Chrome. Works fine, both of them love it. I try it in IE8, and I expect it to fuck up somewhere. So I make it work in that, and it fails in IE7. Ho hum, more exception code, more fucking about.

        So finally I get it working and then I think "oh crap, there might be some Opera users". Guess what? Opera doesn't like it.

        At least in this case it was just Opera and Safari both thinking that "no colour specified" means "paint it white" rather than "DON'T GIVE IT A FUCKING COLOUR." Just means any and all elements that have a transparent background need to be explicitly told to be transparent. Still, easiest to code for? Hardly. Opera has its own quirks, you just need to design something more complex than "Hello, World" to find them.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Don't blame...

          Don't blame the browsers, blame the standards for not making the behaviour explicitly clear.

          I must admit I would not know which behaviour was the most favourable and transparent is not what I would have assumed if there was already a transparent option to use.

        2. ArmanX

          Easier != effortless

          Yes, Opera has its share of "let's guess what the standards actually mean", and as such any browser will look a little bit different. But if I code a fairly simple standards-compliant web page, I expect it to work; it usually does in Opera, with minor tweaking. Firefox, Safari, and Chrome, too, at least in recent versions. But IE? Never. Get it to work for IE 8, and you'll still have to beat IE 7 into compliance. And heaven help us if the website gets on the magical "compliance" blacklist!

          My comment was simply stating that I find writing a website specifically for Opera to work, for the most part, as expected. With IE, your guess is as good as mine as to how it will look - even if it works in one version of IE, the next and previous versions will look wildly different.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How are they second class?

      If only 30% of the videos has been transcoded to WebM?

      Plus they didn't say they'd stop supporting H.264. Given the video player is in the browser it's not like Google can add more features to player for their format.

      They can't even use HD until WebM gets hardware acceleration.

      This is just more smelly hot air from Google.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        RE: How are they second class?

        Because that 30% will be 99% of what people watch on youtube

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Internet Explorer and Safari users are now second class web citizens

      really, have you seen the shit on Youtube?

      Many would think it's a bonus not to be able to view that crap!

      1. Tom 13

        Yeah I have.

        I was just checking out Weird Al's latest spoof last night. Seems Lady Gaga wasn't googoo over him releasing it. But after fans hit his link about 500,000 times based on just word of mouth (or email or twitter or facebook or whatever) she came to her senses.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Did I miss a meeting somewhere

      where it was announced that all the useful stuff on the Interweb which isn't video was to be removed?

  4. mraak
    Jobs Halo

    How selfish of Google

    They should instead force users to kindly submit videos to iTunes store where they would be available for purchase through iOS.

  5. NoneSuch Silver badge

    Now all we need...

    is a universal (Insert format here) to WebM converter add-in for Firefox / Chrome so we can seamlessly watch our porn, I'm sorry I'll say that again, our videos regardless of their source.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    We are also committed to continuing to take other people's stuff and give it away for free because frankly we just can't think of anything else to do what with a company full of engineers who'd have thought sometimes you need creativity to produce something instead of leeching off of one thing we've done right all those years ago mind you it seems to work out well for our great inspirator so really there's no need to change anything except those things that piss other people off but don't you just love it when they do the same to us and we get to bitch and moan for a while like it really means anything God that feels good but for us it's just a mild diversion while for anyone in print/video/maps/&c that's what their life is like the whole time imagine coming home to your wife/husband/beloved pet with loose morals stuffing those massive layers of disappointment deep within your soul.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "...because frankly we just can't think of anything else to do..."

      You are joking right?

      Google may not be the sweetest smelling presence on the web but innovation is something that they are seriously into regardless of their agenda.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    non-standard standards


    So HTML5, the standard that would save the web from plug-ins, is now forked and content owners have to decide either to duplicate their encoding/storage costs or alienate a segment of their audience.

    H.264 playback (ie the bit that browser vendors and end users care about) isn't "royalty encumbered" ... professional encoding is, so this is really about youTube wanting to reduce that cost and being disingenious about it

    IE9/10 have already confirmed it will support WebM if the user has the codec installed (eg via the Google plugin, and Microsoft have released plug-ins to allow Chrome and Firefox to play back H.264 -

    this is all about posturing and throwing weight around no matter how Google want's to spin it

    Of course <video> is pretty flawed at the moment anyway - lacking DRM or adaptive streaming (fMPEG4, MPEG-DASH, IIS Smooth Streaming or Apple HLS) and even the event/properties model implementation on different browsers isn't consistent so we've a long way to go before this battle is settled and users can just watch funny monkey videos without having to think about what format/plug-in they need

    1. M Gale

      Letters and/or digits.

      "H.264 playback (ie the bit that browser vendors and end users care about) isn't "royalty encumbered" ... professional encoding is..."

      So, royalty encumbered then. "Sure it's free unless you want to use it".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        if the content is free, so's the codec

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are you sure?

    "It does plan to ditch it at a later stage, however."

    Where did this come from? They might or might not do this, but I don't think they've come out and said so.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How can I tell...

    ... if a youtube video is webm encoded? Will flashblock not stop it?

    1. M Gale

      Right click the video.

      If it comes up with the Flash context menu, it's a Flash video. If not, it's HTML5 and what with being Google, most likely WebM. They did a Charlie Chaplin thing a day or two ago on the title page.

      As for FlashBlock, well HTML5 video isn't flash. You'd need something to find and either remove <video> tags or replace them with, I don't know, Parry Gripp's Om Nom Nom Song?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Any way to know VIDEO FORMAT?

    How do I know if I'm getting h.264 or WebM on a particular video? I don't seem to find any clues on the URL or in any of the widgets around indicating me the actual format being played. I would like to compare the playback on these.


    1. M Gale

      Could do some encoding yourself?

      Take a DVD and your favourite DeCSS-equipped transcoder of choice. Do some tests at the same bitrates/quantizer/motion detect/etc levels, see how it compares?

    2. Skoorb

      You know if you've asked them not to use Flash...

      The only way to get h.264 or WebM videos out of Flash (which doesn't do WebM) is to go to and press the big button.

      Then *some* videos will play in the new crappy non-flash method. Just try for full screen playback! Never mind smooth full screen playback...

      And some of the "known issues":


      Fullscreen support is partially implemented. Pressing the fullscreen button will expand the player to fill your browser. If your browser supports a fullscreen option, you can then use that to truly fill the screen.

      If you want to find videos with WebM formats available, you can use the Advanced Search options to look for them (or just add &webm=1 to any search URL).

      Video annotations are not supported in the HTML5 video player

      Additional Restrictions (we are working on these!)

      Videos with ads are not supported (they will play in the Flash player)

      On Firefox and Opera, only videos with WebM transcodes will play in HTML5

      If you've opted in to other testtube experiments, you may not get the HTML5 player (Feather is supported, though)

  11. Robert Synnott

    A later stage

    Any later stage ditching would want to be quite a _lot_ later; most smartphones don't have hardware acceleration for WebM, and most Android phones out there today don't even support it in software.

  12. Paul 135

    I don't want no shitty WebM

    I just hope to God that Google don't force WebM down my throat just because I happen to use Firefox. For me, on my hardware, WebM simply has inferior quality and performance to H.264. Please allow us to stream H.264 as a preference if that's what we want.

    1. M Gale

      What you want...

      ...but maybe not what Google are willing to pay for?

      I certainly wouldn't be, if I'd just spent all that money acquiring a video codec.

      1. Paul 135

        wrong. this is all about Google locking users into Google formats

        No. Google already have a h.264 distribution license. It is a fixed cost; not per video.

        1. Tom 52

          @Paul 135

          Perhaps for Google, I don't honestly know, but not for everyone it would seem.

          When I enquired about a h.264 license, fees were based on how many times a video using their codec was played, along with other criteria such as if you were making money from showing the video or advertisement revenue, fees to be paid bi-annually.

          I really hope WebM prevails for several good reasons.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hardware acceleration FUD

    You don't need a special "WebM chip" for hardware acceleration. *All* multimedia codecs benefit from the DSP and SIMD instruction sets which are standard features on current smartphone ARM chips, GPUs, and Intel/AMD CPUs (SSE4, etc). It's "only" a matter of doing a little inline assembly, in a few inner loops, to take advantage of these instructions. So WebM acceleration should improve even on existing hardware, especially with funding from Google.

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