Google has decided that future versions of its Chrome Web browser will not support H.264, citing the ‘proprietary’ nature of the Apple-preferred standard. Proprietary, non-open, buggy Flash, of course, will be supported.
“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 support to make it consistent with the codecs already supported by the open Chromium project,” said Mike Jazayeri, Chrome product manager.
“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.”
The hypocrisy of abandoning a popular format while retaining support for the deeply proprietary Flash format wasn’t explained — though the tech press didn’t miss this.
The effect, some say, may be to push users back to Flash — and its buggy ways. Will this also mean H.264 is abandoned in YouTube? We must wait and see, but if that turns out to be the case then there will be a lot of angry iOS users questioning the validity of Google’s ‘Don’t be evil’ mantra.
H.264 has gained huge support in the past couple of years. In fact, as of last May, it made up some 66 percent of web videos, reports TechCrunch.
“Quite frankly, I’m sick of Google taking stands for “open” and “doing what’s right” only conveniently when it’s in their best interest to do so. It’s fine to be a company with interests. Just be honest about them.
“Don’t feed us bullshit and call it filet mignon. We can smell it. And taste it. And spit it back at you,” writes MG Siegler.