Google is adopting more and more Open technologies everyday. Everything it produces in-house is also OpenSourced to the entire world. Now they seem to open up Video formats to Internet.
As a step further, today, Google announced that it will be acquiring video compression company On2 Technologies for an estimated $106.5 million, pending stockholder approval and regulatory consent.
Update: Acquisition has Completed on 20th Feb 2010 in $124.6 million.
The famous video codec – Ogg Theora is based upon On2’s patented VP3 codec, which the company open-sourced in 2001 and turned over to Xiph.org in 2002. The first stable version of the codec was only released last year but was included in draft versions of HTML 5. Theora was originally used in HTML 5 for its embedded<VIDEO> element, but it was recently removed to be more format independent. Why should an industry standard like HTML 5 restrict itself to a single video codec?
“I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that there is no suitable codec that all vendors are willing to implement and ship,” HTML 5 author Ian Hickson wrote last month. “I have therefore removed the two subsections in the HTML 5 spec in which codecs would have been required, and have instead left the matter undefined.”
Why Open Video ?
The reason is – Today, most online Videos exist via Adobe Flash, Apple Quicktime, other proprietary plugins
“Today video is an essential part of the Web experience, and we believe high-quality video compression technology should be a part of the Web platform,” Sundar Pichai, Google’s vice president for product management, said this morning. “We are committed to innovation in video quality on the Web, and we believe that On2’s team and technology will help us further that goal.”
However, the Theora <VIDEO> tag has received support from Mozilla in Firefox 3.5, and also by atleast by three video sites – DailyMotion, The Internet Archive (Archive.org), and Wikipedia.
If Google adopts it and makes it more extendible and developer friendly, which they are bound to, it could become the Web’s de facto open video platform, abolishing the need for proprietary plug-ins like Apple’s QuickTime or Adobe’s Flash.
Google — which arguably owns Web video with YouTube — could seriously change the progress of HTML 5 and the evolution of open video, if it decides to throw its weight behind Theora.
Is Google looking to enhance Video compression to enable better HD video in less space and time, and possibly beat out the competition – DailyMotion, Hulu, etc ?