A few hundred words from Google Product Manager Mike Jazayeri announcing that Google would be supporting WebM and Ogg Theroa instead of the H.264 video codec in Google Chrome for the HTML5 video tag has lead to enormous controversy in browser and video circles. Now, Google has explained in more detail what’s its trying to do, and ends up defining the sides in the HTML5 video fight.
In his latest post, Jazayeri said that the prior “announcement was solely related to the HTML “Video” tag, which is part of the emerging set of standards commonly referred to as “HTML5.” We believe there is great promise in the tag and want to see it succeed. As it stands, the organizations involved in defining the HTML video standard are at an impasse. There is no agreement on which video codec should be the baseline standard. Firefox and Opera support the open WebM and Ogg Theora codecs and will not support H.264 due to its licensing requirements; Safari and IE9 support H.264. With this status quo, all publishers and developers using the tag will be forced to support multiple formats.”
This last point has been ignored by some critics who say that “H.264 is what we need.” While Jazayeri acknowledges “that H.264 has broader support in the publisher, developer, and hardware community today (though support across the ecosystem for WebM is growing rapidly). However, as stated above, there will not be agreement to make it the baseline in the HTML video standard due to its licensing requirements.”