WebM has been introduced by Google as a new media format, an open web media project. VP8 video is now open source & royalty free. WebM is a wrapper (container being Matroska or .mkv) for VP8 video and Ogg Vorbis audio. Supposedly it’s efficient enough for playback on lower-powered devices such as netbooks, handhelds, etc.
Mozilla is supporting the format today, as the nightly builds now contain support. Chrome early access builds will also have support on May 24th. Opera is said to be working to support the format sometime in the future.
Google will (of course) be supporting the format as an option for YouTube playback.
Will Apple support the format since they are very much stand behind H.264? Will browser support of the format eventually phase out Flash Video if a plugin isn’t needed any longer for media (video) playback? Of course keeping the sources the same and either consuming with the browser or a plugin in a browser, I think I would opt for the plugin right now (Flash) as it’s so freaking capable of so many things. If HTML5 ends up to catch up with it, then I’d start to worry.
Will Adobe support Ogg Vorbis in addition to VP8 in it’s player? I suppose we’ll see. That might quell the throngs of geeks demanding Ogg Vorbis support. By throngs I mean the few hundred or so that mysteriously attracted to the format.
It looks like Microsoft will be support WebM in InternetExploder 9 (which is still a long wait until 2011.)
x264 developer Jason Garrett-Glaser has been quoted as saying that WebM seems be directly patterned after H.264 and thus may be violating patents. It resembles a only slightly improved version of the H.264 Baseline Profile and so could invite lawsuits from the MPEG-LA standards group for anyone that uses it.
“Though I am not a lawyer, I simply cannot believe that they will be able to get away with this, especially in today’s overly litigious day and age,” Garret-Glaser said. “Even VC-1 (used in HD DVD) differed more from H.264 that VP8 does, and even VC-1 didn’t manage to escape the clutches of software patents. Until we get some hard evidence that VP8 is safe, I would be extremely cautious. Since Google is not indemnifying users of VP8 from patent lawsuits, this is even more of a potential problem.”
Well, we will have to sit back and keep our eyes on our RSS reader applications for the next several weeks to see if any new information comes out of the announcement made today at I/O.