Google open sources VP8 online video standard

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Google open sources VP8 online video standard

Free alternative to H.264.

Google used the opening keynote of its I/O conference to announce the open sourcing the VP8 video standard, with the aim of making video online open to all developers.

The VP8 codec, with was acquired by Google last year when it bought On2 for $124m, will be released as part of the WebM project, which is supported by Mozilla and Opera. Microsoft and Apple are still using the H.264 standard, which costs money and cannot be used in open source projects.

“We think video should be a great, free and an open option for all,” said Sundar Pichai, Google's vice president of product marketing.

“It's really important to have high quality and open video.”

Google, Mozilla and Opera are all supporting WebM in their browsers and all videos from 720p and larger on YouTube will be be encoded in WebM by the end of the month. A WebM software developer kit has also been released.

Google has also signed up support from hardware manufacturers like AMD, ARM and Qualcomm as well as software vendors.

“We're really excited to see VP8,” said Kevin Lynch, chief technical officer at Adobe.

"We will distribute VP8 to over a billion people in the first year via Flash. We've also working with Google on a bunch of devices with Flash.”

His comments added fuel to rumours that Google and Adobe are working on a new mobile platform to compete with Apple.

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