Dear Google: removing H.264 support from Chrome is kinda evil

Google has recently announced that they're removing H.264 -- the video compression open standard used by everything from iPad and iPhone to YouTube and Netflix -- from their Chrome browser. Up until now Google has been the only company to support all the major video codecs, including H.264, OGG Theora, and their own, newly open-sourced WebM. Apple supports H.264, as does Microsoft, and Firefox supports only OGG Theora.

Why the sudden change? Some might say to hurt Apple, whose iOS and iTunes depend heavily on the technology and have shown no signs of slowing down even after Google decided to stop so much partnering and start much more competing with Apple directly in the mobile OS and media services space. Others might say it's simply to give Google a competitive advantage and push adoption of their own WebM format. Neither motives are mutually exclusive but again put the advancement of standards-based web technology on the back burner -- something Google once championed. (Hey, you know it's bad when Microsoft is chiding you over lack of standards support, okay?)

Google claims they don't want to support proprietary formats like H.264, which rings decidedly false since they still do -- and have gone out of their way to expand -- support for Adobe's just-as-proprietary Flash plugin. Yes, H.264 caries licensing fees for commercial content but to say those amount to little more than a rounding error when compared to Google's monthly, never mind yearly profits is an overstatement. H.264 is a an international and open standard, supported by hardware acceleration in chipsets and file format compatibility in an increasing amount of consumer video creation and playback gear. It was on its way to becoming the video equivalent of MP3 (which Google probably won't drop support for either). Yet with native H.264 support taken away from Chrome, only Adobe Flash H.264 support will remain (because Flash is packaged right into Chrome, and Flash uses H.264 for a lot of their higher quality video). So in order to watch it, you'll have to use Flash.

Why does this matter to iPhone and iPad users? Because if Google (and Palm and RIM) hadn't chosen to compete against Apple by cozying up to Adobe's Flash the amount of battery draining, phone heating web video content would be lessened today and the H.264 share would be even higher. In other words, we'd have even more iOS-friendly videos and less sites we couldn't access on our iOS devices.

Remember, Flash existed to fill a void in web technology, much like ActiveX in Internet Explorer 6, and like ActiveX (and Real) the advent of better, more efficient solutions would have led to Flash's gradual decrease until it was back to what it was ideally and originally suited for -- efficient frame-based animation.

Apple, famously, doesn't support Flash on iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, or Apple TV and doesn't even install the plugin by default in Mac OS X. Do we really want Google to be more like Apple?

I've promised to be nicer to Google this year but they're making it hard right out the outset. Still, I'm not going to complain about this as a competitive business decision, and I won't vomit even a little at how they once again disingenuously and insultingly wrapped their competitive business decision up in the cloak of openness in an attempt to pander to open software advocates. (They know better.) I'll just hope Google changes their mind before those self-same FOSSies turn on them. Beware the faboys scorned.

But even if they don't, what will happen? Will YouTube go through the massive re-encoding effort to switch to WebM? Will Netflix? Will iTunes? Probably not, so as usual it will just be us users who suffer. Or switch back to IE...

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

More Posts

 

0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

← Previously

iPhone Live 133: Verizon iPhone (Boom!)

Next up →

First Direct, first UK banking app for iPhone, iPad that lets you carry out transactions on the go

Reader comments

Dear Google: removing H.264 support from Chrome is kinda evil

99 Comments

I agree. I've been a Chrome for Mac user since before I could get Chrome for Mac, back when Chromium was the only option. By removing H.264 support from Chrome, what is it that they hope to accomplish, exactly? I might go back to using Safari full-time.

Firefox does not, never has, and never will support H.264 until Apple, Microsoft, Sony and the rest of the MPEG-LA group relicense it and stop charging developers to include the decoder.

"Evil?" Stop with the double-standard would you? Why is it evil when Google tries to push the standard they favor, and it's fair when Apple tries to force everyone into the standard they favor. Just because you "like Apple better" doesn't mean they aren't as "evil"

Keisuke the only reason why the author points this out is because Google Inc is one of the few companies out there whose core principle is "do no evil". If a company markets itself this way and then goes out of its way to stick it to everyone that is not on their bandwagon then consumers and media have the right to question the move. It is akin to politicians who cheat on their wives while preaching family values. Making money without being evil is one of Google's 10 core principles. Another one is focusing on the user. Users are increasingly using this new codec because it is compatible with ALL of Apple's portable devices and many other devices. With this decision they have also broken this principle. Their first principle is to focus on one thing and do it well.. that is search... how is limiting my video choices helping them do this when search results themselves may lead me to video pages their own browser does not support?

In this case, I think the blow to Apple is not the reason. Removing support for H.264 (but allowing anyone to download a free plugin to play it) pushed the web towards an open standard, much like depreciating the use of GIF files did.

Right, but deprecating native support for an open standard in favor of one that Google has control over isn't terribly nice. Anyone worried about the potential costs/ballooning of costs should go read the licensing agreement as it stands. It needs to be revoted every five years by members and even then royalty rates can only go up 10% per five years. This is a move by Google to have more control using a legally problematic, technically inferior codec and/or a move to prop up their new friends at Adobe who are in serious danger of being swept aside.

Open? Tell that to MPEG-LA's patent troll lawyers. Heck, just a few months ago, they were dangling the sword of Damacles over the Web's head, claiming that after 2016 they would start charging for H264 streaming in all forms. They've since changed their tune, largely as a result of Google pushing an actual open standard.
As a general heuristic, if a company controls a technology so completely that it can day-to-day decide whether or not to charge or disallow your use, it's not open. And if you'd like to argue that it IS open, I've got a very nice "open" operating system you might be interested in called Microsoft Windows. You'll just have to agree to the Shared Source license, NDAs, and tons of onerous license terms.
Bottom line: This is NOT an evil move. We should all be thanking Google for promoting open standards on the web. Had Google not done this, MPEG-LA would be screwing us over even worse. Bravo to Google for castrating MPEG-LA.

push to a more open standard? by using flash? a decidedly proprietary and closed wrapper? and an irrelevant one at that?
if Google said, "hey we are doing this to be free of paying someone" fine and dandy, but what they said was we are doing this to be open? that is the most hypocritical thing i've ever heard, forcing people to use Flash, something that no one can change except adobe.... the bugs in it are so bad that you really can't even use the plugin for a mobile device.... it just eats your usability.... that's when it is not crashing...

Forgive me, I'm directing the statement towards the guy on the show who supports Apple no matter what Apple does. Slam flash, it's ok as long as it's Apple who's saying it. I have an Iphone, I simply disagree with the "use our standard, not the one they like" thing.
More a response to the podcast, figuring this was just a bit of hedging to sound more PC.

I think vie seem Rene criticize Apple, so I think it goes too far to say that he backs them no matter what. At the same time, this article and his response to your comment clearly show that he is holding Google to a different standard than the one to which Apple is held.
That may be due in-part, and somewhat justifiably, to Google's "Dont be evil" mantra (I'm not sure if it is their actual mission statement)...but in the end, if it is evil for one then it is evil for both.

K, the difference is that Apple isn't forcing people into a standard for video THEY OWN. And don't give me "it's open" because the truly open video standard is Ogg Theora.

The first item... in an alphabetically sorted list?
Apple pays more into MPEG-LA than they get out of it. If they had the leverage to make the license cost for software H.264 decoders be $0, I think they would.

I wasn't implying position as an amount of money they get out of it. I was just pointing out that Apple DOES have a vested interest (no matter how small) in seeing h.264 become the standard. Google pays just as much as apple does (there is a cap on how much a company must pay) to MPEG-LA, and they will continue to do so unless they drop h.264 from Youtube, which they can't for awhile (mobile device).
Also, if EVERYONE picks up WebM, google will make as much money as if NO ONE did.

To respond to a question posed in the last paragraph of this article: Google owns YouTube so I think it's fair to say we know where this is headed.

perhaps. but ... YouTube essentially holds a monopoly position in its "market." so Google has to be careful not to engage in "anti-competitive practices" with it. and in any event it would take some years to transition away from H264 since WebM is not at all ready yet for mobile devices - not even Android.
also, a big question is whether Google has the guts to drop H264 support from Android as well. but probably not, since that would unarguably end its "whole web" capabilitiy - a big selling point. and for Chrome OS too?
of course Apple can simply sidestep this by adding WebM support to iOS/OS X. that would still advance HTML5 and marginalize Flash.
or Apple can just finally bit the bullet, buy Adobe, and kill Flash once and for all. then revinent all of Adobe's software. which, combined with Apple's current software products, would result in a real powerhouse software company.

Didn't have to read past the first paragraph to see this is yet another nonsense rene post.
First, firefox and opera only support ogg and webm, ie doesn't support html5 at all but will support both h.264 and webm in ie9, chrome will now support only ogg and webm. This leaves only safari not supporting open standards. So if you want to complain, now you know where to direct it.
Additionally, both youtube and netflix dual encode. There is no point in switching browsers h.264 video will still play in all browsers via flash. So the only devices left in the dust are those running iOS, which supports neither flash or webm. Again your complaints should be directed at steve almighty for trying to push his own proprietary codecs and holding you back from experiencing "the full web" and restricting the future of the web and technology to support his own personal agenda.

You forget about the patent issues with Ogg Theora and WebM. Google has not Apple to fear but the Hollywood companies, who play far nastier with DRM and can combine to out Ogg and WebM out of existence. It would be nice to live in a ideological bubble here but the reality is cold and stark. The paltry decoder fees of H.264, or the massive legal fees of Ogg and WebM?

It is open and free for end users, but it is also patented technology, managed by a private organization (MPEG LA), and not free for encoders and decoders, which must pay royalties.

Bash Flash all you want ( and they do that alot on this site !!!) but in about a year or two when all apple's competitors support stable flash ( thanks to better more powerful hardware) Apple will have no choice but to support flash too. Html5 won't kill flash because RIM Google and microsoft all video card devolpers that makemore money by selling more power hungry hardware, see no reason to kill flash .

It's telling that you say fast flash thanks to faster hardware... Adobe has been trying to years to make Flash fast, stable and low power/cpu on mobile (10.2 is now the answer! Just like 10.0 and 10.1...). Flash is not the answer, it's part of the problem.

By the same reasoning, one could argue that color is the problem, or video itself, that a mobile internet without either would be much faster and battery friendly.

the only problem is that flash is irrelevant... as Apple has shown... you don't need it to view video... you only need it to view ADS ON VIDEO...... thank you no.... i hope HTML5 takes a long time to get to the same level of the worst creation of man... the flash type ad pop ups while in a video....

Amazes me the goodwill Google gets, they are worse than Apple & Microsoft combined. Anyhow - YouTube won't work on iPhone/iPad sometime this year - unless Apple take up Googles video format...

Google gets goodwill because they give out things for "free" while Microsoft and Apple will always be criticized because you have to pay to use their products. The love for Google is akin to the love a bum has for the government that gives him his welfare check.

I think this one is on Apple! Why on Earth they could not change the license of h.264 codec to become open source?

Have to be fair here -- of all the major patent-holders in the MPEG-LA group Apple would be the most likely to open-source H.264. I wouldn't be surprised if the final outcome of this whole mess is Apple trying to do exactly that, and we end up with the best performing standard being open and free.

Maybe that's Googles evil plan - to open-source H.264. The ends justifies the means, you know.

Agreed, and interesting to ponder this whole thing being a scheme by El Goog to force MPEG-LA to make H.264 Open Source/Fee Free in Perpetuity.

"removing H.264 — the video compression open standard used by everything from iPad and iPhone to YouTube"
H.264 is not, in any way, "open".

It is absolutely "open" in a an important way: it's an "open standard" in that anyone can license it, and that licensing is done by an international standards body. So, for example, Microsoft couldn't refuse to license it to Google, Apple to Mozilla, etc. etc.

Completely incorrect. The Mozilla foundation cannot legally build H.264 decoders into Firefox, nor can Linux distributions, due to the patents asserted by the MPEG-LA. How can the web be open if a technology gets baked into the standard that people are barred from using?

Your disagreeing with something does not make it incorrect :)
An open standard doesn't have to be free. Most technology has patents involved because that was the system under which they were birthed. Some are proprietary, some are openly licensed by a standards body, some are made freely available, and others are legally questionable due to patent assertions that haven't been and may never be litigated.
H.264 is an open standard. Now explain why Flash gets to stay? :D

I guess that depends on how you look at it. H.264 is a "pay to play" standard. But as it turns out no one actually has a lisence fee to support flash in either creation or distribution. The only fees would be if you want to use Adobe's software suite but you don't have to do that.

It is not a matter of disagreement; it is a stone cold fact. OSS projects such as Firefox and Linux are prohibited from including H264 decoders in their software.
You are entitled to your own opinions, Rene, but not your own facts.

Flash gets to stay because it is not part of the spec. Why is that so difficult to understand? A tag in HTML5 would be more evil, but it is not, it is a plugin. Conversely, if H264 were served exactly as it is now, with hardware accelerated goodness and no flash wrapper, but through an &object/>/&embed/> tag, most OSS types would cheer it. The problem -- the only problem -- is in making part of the w3c spec beholden to a for-pay patent pool. This shuts out some players and slows down progress.
Clearer?

which players does it shut out? H.264 is an OPEN STANDARD..... how does it slow it down? except for the bickering of the committee, they can simply read the licensing agreement, it is after all very similar to an OPEN SOURCE LICENSING AGREEMENT.... and you can see exactly what it will be like in 10 years, and even 20 years....
what is moronic about your statement is that it assumes that the tag will stay the same for 200 years....
if H.264 people raised the price to some god awful amount in 50 years, there are going to be about 10 new innovations that will make it obsolete....
for gods sake man, this isn't like something they can't change.... as if HTML6 will never come? come on... that is the worst excuse you could ever come up with that god forbid they have something in it that might come out bad in 20 years.... in 20 years we will have something that completely replaces a browser for gods sake...

How can the web be open if a technology gets baked into the standard that people are barred from using?
you mean like "flash"??? :0) the only reason they are barred from using it is because of a LICENSE... and an Open source license actually reads remarkably the same as any other license... with many restrictions...
so what you are arguing is that one license can't be changed... while this other license well, they don't like... because of their license that is similar to the other license....
great... great reason to have a browser, so that your license doesn't include another license....
meanwhile a real browser can actually play hardware accelerated video codecs.... under yet another license.... do you really think users care what license some browser company signed? they could care less, they will however notice the inferior compression quality and slowness of WebM, and Flash eating up battery life and crashing....
does flash have a license for crashing? and WebM a license for how bad it's compression is? should we sign it? does a user care?

Wow, so much nonsense in the comments it's hard to know where to start... the choice cuts:
@birbeck / Levi
You clearly don't understand the difference between an open standard and open source. H.264 is an open standard because its file format specifications are published and is not at the mercy of one single company to decide the direction of its development or who can use it.
Safari very much supports this open standard.
Please explain what these "proprietary codecs" are that "steve almighty" is using to hold the web to ransom.
@azAttis / eldis
uh... you do understand that H.264 is not Apple's format to control and do with as they see fit? It is made up of a patent pool from 29 different companies, including people like Sony and Microsoft, and Apple couldn't unilaterally open source it even if it wanted to.
The idea that Google could open source a codec that it has absolutely no involvement with is absurd.

What about Opera and Chromium what do they use, and all I know is is when Flash moves out of this space, thee Google will bring back H.264

To me the issue is they are taking something away ... why ?
why not include support for every codec on the planet.
People like Google and Android because they say it is opn and gives them choice.
If that was completely true why bother to take something away.
I think we have some wrong ideas of what Google is and does and why they do it.

They are taking something away because open-source software is important to Google's evil plans. Closed-source software is counterproductive to Google because it would mean that they have to make people pay for stuff, which guarantees less use of their products. Google wants software to go to as many people around the world without restrictions, so that it pervades throughout as much of people's daily lives as possible. Their goal is to make people get used to getting things online for free as long as they enter all their information into the clouds, which is far more valuable a resource than money.
Think about it. What is more useful? Money, or the knowledge of how people will spend their money? One may satisfy a company now, but advanced knowledge of people's habits will satisfy them forever.

Consider, for a moment, WebKit. Apple has done great things with it, but you can plausibly argue that licenses like MPEG-LA's in the HTML spec would have killed or crippled Apple's on web efforts, as follows:
To start WebKit, Apple forked on earlier OSS project called Knoqueror, because Apple thought it was the best foundation on which to build Safari. Had H264 in the tag been part if the spec back then, it is arguable that Konqueror would not have been built; it is a certainty that it would have not gotten the same development attention that it did. No mature Konqueror -> No WebKit -> delayed or inferior Safari (and Chrome, for that matter.)
That is why this fight matters, because the inclusion of such tech in the official spec keeps (some of) the most innovative players out of the game, and in so doing closes part of the web for us all.

Apple attacks Flash for its own gain pushing everyone to HTML 5 when is not ready yet and Google is evil?
There are all sorts of video standards out there and this makes no difference as you still have a choice which is more than apple would offer you.

you cant call google evil for this unless you can turn to apple and say the same. They are worse by controlling your options on every mobile device they sell. I hope in the end it does hurt apple they need a dose of there own medicine.

While I understand the frustration with not having all the videos and web content available on my phone. I for one am glad that my phone doesn't freeze up, become choppy, or run out of battery because I went to a web page that happens to have flash. Everyone I know with an android has flash turned off for this very reason. (and they're phone still dies around lunchtime).

@ROB: "I for one am glad that my phone doesn’t freeze up, become choppy, or run out of battery because I went to a web page that happens to have flash."
Funny comment there. That's like saying "I'm glad my car won't take me to all the restaurants in the area because one of them might make me sick!" Shouldn't it be your choice where to go... after all, YOU paid for the car?
Yes... Google might be evil for doing this but Apple is the same.

It is not true that Flash drains battery! Using the CPU is draining the battery. If a webpage has a lot of badly written flash banners than it will drain battery. But if a webpage has a lot of badly written HTML5 animation on it it will drain your battery the same way. If Apple successfully kills Flash than all the advertisers go to HTML5 (And they will still use Adobe Flash to build HTML5 animations) and all the Mac and Ipad users will have their battery drained.
You can easily block flash and enable it with a click in the most browser today and then you have Flash capabilities and it does not use CPU unnecessarily.
Your (and Steve's) argument is completely false.

H.264 is hardware accelerated. Flash on mobile is only now (some 4 years later) beginning to do that. Until last year Adobe was as guilty of letting Flash languish as Microsoft was with IE 6. They had no competition so they didn't innovate. Now HTML5 and Apple's lack of support is forcing Adobe to make a much better plugin so other platforms use it to compete.
Strangely, Apple is the best thing to happen to Flash in a long time.

So couldn't Google's lack of support of h.264 be the best thing to happen to it then? Maybe they open source it (no royalties), or maybe they (or someone else) creates a better format than h.264 OR webM and open sources that?

I have an android phone. Flash enables. I get 30+ hours of heavy operation. No choppiness, no lag. Crisp as hell. Obviously you don't have ANY experience.

The same is not true for ALL Flash supporting Android handsets. You need to use mroe than your own experience to determine what's true.

Chris-details please!!! What phone? What Carrier? What flash sites? How much time on those sites? Incredible declarations require proof!!! Every word you have written about flash is in direct conflict with real world usage.

This isn't a logical debate for some of you. Clearly the people screaming that Apple isn't supporting an "open standard" don't know what an open standard is for starters, and are invested in seeing Apple fail. This just makes Google look hypocritical for saying "we want choice", when what they really want is control. They're just going about it in a different way. Apple wants control of standards that everyone uses and has a stake over, and Google just wants to fool the FOSS movement into supporting them when, in reality, they will toss the same FOSS people under the bus at the first opportunity they can get.

Not really. The difference here is that Google isn't PREVENTING people from using H.264. Just because they aren't building native support into their browser anymore doesn't mean they are preventing people from using it, it's not hard to download a 3rd party plug-in decoder.
The same can't really be said of the Apple ecosystem.

.. you state "we'd have even more iOS friendly videos and less sites we couldn't access on our iOS devices "... guess what not everyone likes the walled garden of iOS personally I could careless if iOS couldn't go to one website. And Ritchie did you read? The title clearly states you think Google is "kind of evil"for doing this. what a joke and waste of time for anyone to read.

Watching all of you Apple apologists squirm really brightens my day. The real issue at hand is that Jobs unnecessarily (and without warning) dropped Flash. This action caused a LOT of developers (myself included) to think about alternatives to Apple. Nice going Mr. Jobs, this is one decision you will regret.

Jobs will regret the flood of Android tablets just as much as BMW regrets the flood of Kia's and Suzuki's.

I really don't get Google's motives with this move. In any case it's easy to just remove Chrome and go back to FF and IE.

So basically all that this move has accomplished, from reading these comments, is that a bunch of Chrome users will now use a competing browser.
Well played, Google. Well played.

The Chrome-mance is over. It was fun while it lasted. This was clearly a competitive move against Apple, which is OK, but lying about the reason is more than "kinda evil." It's just as evil as Steve lying about anntennagate. At any rate, it won't hurt Apple, just Google and Chrome. Their mask is slipping a little lately, and even the freetards are starting to notice.

Steve was a dick about Antennagate, but I can't think of anything he specifically lied about. It doesn't affect everyone and the iPhone 4 still has a far more sensitive baseband antenna than previous models. The real issue that was lied about was the code that decided what db level was what bar. THAT was a farce...

My whole attitude towards chrome changed overnight. I had previously rejected Firefox because of their stance on h.264, so I pretty much lost all respect for Chrome as a browser with this news. I'll be recommending my PC friends use IE9 unless they reverse their decision.
I probably WILL keep Chrome on my Mac though …as a dedicated Flash player. One good thing it does is allow me to skip on installing the global Flash plugin so I can be Flash free 95% of the time. Not to mention the fact that it'll be an easy way to keep Flash up-to-date on my system …something Adobe never figured out how to do.

In all fairness, it wasn't Firefox fault. H.264 is open but not free, that's why it was not adopted, either by Mozilla or by Linux.

I don't know if it's evil to remove support for h.264, but the way they're doing it (or the way it's being reported in the media) is a little hypocritical. If they say they're not including it because it's not open source yet they still include (at least bundled in the binaries) Adobe Flash, then that doesn't make much sense to me. I can understand dropping native inclusion to a certain degree if Chrome is supposed to be completely open source, but the way it's being reported sounds more like an agenda than simply complying with the goal of all open source for the main app. If they made an extension outside the normal source tree to play h.264, I wouldn't think twice about it. I don't like the idea of relying on Flash for playing such things. Despite its prevalence on the Internet, I still find it to be less stable than I would like. You can blame the authors of certain flash videos/media to an extent, but I still don't have much love for Flash.
And as far as the legality of their own open source codecs, we probably won't have any resolution to that for years. Does anyone have time to wait for that?

In all fairness (I've been saying that a lot here), Chrome does not includes Flash, you have to download a plugin to run it. Starting now the same goes for H.264, it is not natively supported, but you can add the plugin that runs it.

I thought the last brouhaha was that Google was bundling it with the binaries. Yes, it is a plugin/extension/add-on, but it was bundled as part of the download if I remember correctly (and granted, I could be wrong on that). My whole thing was if they include a non-open source plugin in the binary downloads (as an extension/whatever), why didn't they just split out whatever code they had for h.264 into an extension that was bundled as well? It would keep the source tree free from "proprietary" formats as well as continue to serve as a platform that can handle most things you find on the web. I just don't see why there was some sort of huge thing saying "h.264 is bad and we're banishing it from Chrome" unless they were just trying to promote their own codec. It makes them sound more like any other for-profit company in my mind. It does sound like something Apple, Microsoft, etc., would do. I just don't perceive it as them being a knight in shining armor vanquishing evil overlords. I just see it as them pushing their own agenda (again, I'm not calling them evil or even a little bit evil, just acting like everyone else instead of differentiating themselves by being all encompassing). Just my perception. I don't expect everyone to have the same take.

"In other words, we’d have even more iOS-friendly videos and less sites we couldn’t access on our iOS devices"
That sums your entire point up right there. Google didn't see it Steve's way and you have fewer videos and websites to view on your iDevice. I could care less. and no, I did not read the missive from the microsoftie. The very last company on the planet with the right to say something negative about another company pushing their own standard over another is Microsoft.
I find it laughable how many people (nearly always those that blog about their affection for Apple, their products and Steve Almighty) like to trot out "don't be evl" when they write a post about Google as if they have any clue at all about Google's plans or intentions. Google is a for profit public corporation. Their only duty is to their shareholders and given the fact that don't be evil is their own guiding principle evil is for them to define.
Regardless how much (or little) it costs Google to include a given codec in their browser it is Google's decision with regards to paying it. Not Apple's, not TiPB's or anyone else's. Google alone will decide if they will continue to pay. Apple made the decision to not only exclude Flash but to block the user's choice to install it on their own. That's ok though because Steve says it's hard on the battery life. Which is more evil?
And to anyone that thinks they have a clue about battery life on an Android phone with Flash installed, stop now. You don't have any clue what you are talking about and it is obvious to all those that actually have a device in their hand that does have Flash. You are taking Apple marketing speak and regurgitating it as fact when it simply is not. My Android phone makes it through more than a day and I've had Flash installed for some time.

The "but...but Google supports FLASH" argument is trotted out so often people like Rene and Gruber must intentionally be confusing the issue.

  • Flash is not open. Flash lives in the /&tl;embed/> tags specifically designated for that purpose, and whose functionality browsers do not have to support.
  • H.264 brings non-free licenses into the tag - a core part of the specification, where the functionality (and peceived failure) is the resposibility of the browser.

Were Google to push Flash into the HTML5 spec, or object to H264 in the plugin space, you could accuse them of hypocrisy. They are not, however; whatever their motives may be, they are on the same side of the fight as Mozilla, trying to keep legal encumbrances and for-pay technologies out of the official spec. The hypocrites are those on the other side, who were cheering Mozilla for doing the same w.r.t. to Microsoft in 2000 but have changed sides now that the for-pay side includes Apple.

Removing support for Flash would increase support for the video tag and webM/OGG if they don't support H.264.
It would help deprecate an old, proprietary technology in favor of the "open" web.
However, Google's business interests currently align with Flash and not with H.264 and since Google is a public for-profit company the simplest answer is they're doing what's in their best interests. They're not a charity or foundation no matter how many "open" platitudes they make to get the FOSS-base in their corner (a base which is usually far to smart to fall for that kind of corporate manipulations).

Hence "whatever their motivations are."
Google is not full of angels and puppies, but they are on the correct side here by fighting to keep a non-free technology out of an international standard. If Apple forces the MPEG-LA to drop all considerations and open up H264 so that even Firefox and Ubuntu can use them, I will be right there next to you praising Apple and shouting down Google. Until that time, I am on the side of Mozilla, Opera, and Google, because de-facto requirements of paid, proprietary licenses into the W3C spec is the first step into official fragmentation of the Web.

One more point - yes, dropping Flash might accelerate the acceptance of WebVM, which just underscores that is not what this fight is about. It is about keeping tech that requires paid licenses out of the browser space and in the plugin / space, where it belongs. If Adobe were to push a tag as part of the HTML5 spec, Google and Mozilla would decry it just as loudly.

Google is hippocritical. If it wants to NOT support proprietary formats, then it should DROP support for MP3, GIF, and Flash also. But of course, it won't. After all, if it dropped MP3, GIF, and Flash, their browser would be gutted and non-conpetitive.
The practical effect of dropping H.264 support but keeping Flash is to PROMOTE FLASH.
Obviously, since Flash SUPPORTS H.264, content owners can simply keep providing H.264 video. There is NO NEED to support WebM or Ogg Theora AT ALL. Chrome can still view H.264 video by using the devil's child Flash that is in its womb.
All Google has done, by dropping H.264 support, is to avoid paying for H.264, letting Adobe pay for H.264 support in Flash, and to let Chrome run H.264 video by using Flash.

Well now, let's see if Adobe wants to keep paying for H.264, as they are integrating WebM in Flash.

Whatever the reasons for this, I'm uninstalling Google Chrome on my computer. Flash runs like crap on Macs, and it probably always will :P.

Free or not free? Open or closed? The point about Apple's blocking the use of Flash really does not call either of these issues into play. The bottom line is that Flash is a resource hog that overloads CPU cycles and eats up battery life. Look at the battery performance of a MacAir with Flash enabled compared to it without the software. Apple made a decision to not include Flash on its iOS products based on user convienience - you don't have to watch your battery icon drain.
As for Google and the whole evil thing - Google is a corporation. The first rule of any institution is self-preservation. Google will not make a move without taking into consideration how it will affect their health in the long run. Evil is purely a subjective term in these posts applied to the 'other.' Evil, in and of itself, is a human condition and as institutions are human in origin, they all can easily fall under its influence since evil often disguises itself in the guise of good. Corporate self-interest is the motive behind every move Apple, Microsoft, Google, et. al. make be it good or evil.

Not by today's standards it's not. HTML5 used to emulate what flash is capable of will resource hog just as much as Flash would. Google kind of proved that when they made that HTML5 logo and had several customer complaints about slow computer performance on older machines.
Apple made a decision to snub Flash because they wanted to squash combitition betwee their "app store" and Flash apps on the web. If battery issues are a concern it's not hard to sub a placeholder in for a Flash module on the page and have the user activate the module manually. Heck, that's how Opera can be setup to work with Flash.

Erik Adobe itself ADMITTED it was a resource hog on the press conference to introduce the new flash beta... which by the way I must say is much improved and am hoping that more videos take advantage of it.

That's a ridiculous notion when Apple fully supports web-based apps in Safari. Apple supports for standards goes far beyond Google's. And they even have a web-apps directory on their website.

As for Google and the whole evil thing – Google is a corporation. The first rule of any institution is self-preservation
uhh, except Google has said that it's first rule is "do no evil"....while other companies have not.... get it? did you miss that part of the statement from google?
being hypocritical is evil... it is at it's heart, lying in the highest order....
there is no one here or anywhere (that knows what they are talking about) that disputes that Google is being hypocritical in their published statement... they could have said they dont' want to pay, or they don't like anything that isn't free... but instead they gave the "open" flag, while hiding the fact that they are embedding a much more closed system...
this is not a point of argument, everyone knows that they have done this.
and to prove the point, ask Google whether they think Flash falls under the definition of "Open" source... or openness in general for that matter. Have you ever seen the Flash plugin code? no.. why? because it is privately owned and no one can contribute without Adobe's blessing.

"Why does this matter to iPhone and iPad users? Because if Google (and Palm and RIM) hadn’t chosen to compete against Apple by cozying up to Adobe’s Flash the amount of battery draining, phone heating web video content would be lessened today and the H.264 share would be even higher. In other words, we’d have even more iOS-friendly videos and less sites we couldn’t access on our iOS devices."
Poor thing.

What puzzles me is why Google is so enthusiastic about proping up Adobe. I can see the other players, as they're desperate. Maybe it's just "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" thing, but that's a dangerous strategy. I'm guessing it might have something to do with Adobe's dominance with PDFs, which Google depends on. Stil,l it's odd that Google is so keen on Flash when they're normally so big on performance. They're definitely sending some mixed signals lately.

It Apple and Microsoft who placed or where going to place a lawsuit against Linux and the open community for using H.264. And isn't it Apple who is pushing for H.264 to be part of the HTML 5 standard. Not that is evil since they force a standard where everybody has to pay them for using H.264.
Here Google has dropped a close standard in favor two open standard. Again how is that evil?
I think you need to educate yourself before you bash anybody and quite drinking so much of the cool aid.
=X=

Apple did not file a lawsuit against Linux. That was Microsoft.
Apple is not pushing H.264 to be a part of the HTML 5 standard, it is pushing the VIDEO tag. H.264 cannot become a part of WC3 standard because it is cannot have more than one implementation due to the licensing model.
H.264 is an open international standard, not a closed standard.
WebM which is being pushed by Google is not as open as they would have you to believe. Google owns the patents on the technology. And ultimately controls the direction the codec goes. Even if it is open source it is still under Google's control and they retain rights to all future implementations.

Regarding Flash on iOS:
It seems that some people have no idea what they are talking about when it comes to the reason Flash is not allowed on iOS.
Apple didn't ban Flash because they don't like the format or that it is crappy or buggy. Flash, like SilverLight and Java are what are called subsystems, run-time engines or code interpreters. None of these are allowed per the Developer's Agreement. This has nothing to do with Flash itself, but rather having 3rd party systems executing code beyond the application itself. This leads to security and privacy issues that Apple would have no control over. These types of systems could also potentially lead to forcing Apple to hold back updates and newer versions of their OS due to compatibility issues.
I'd also like to point out to everyone that the full version of Flash has only been available for ARM based mobile since this past Fall. The entire argument before was about Flash Lite, which is only a subset of the full Flash version, several versions old. Flash Lite was basically used for ads.

Google is working up a competitive advantage for Android here. The contention that it's all about open source is laughable. You can be sure that while it's Chrome nixing H.264 today, it will be YouTube tomorrow. iOS devices unable to show YouTube is a HUGE win for Android.
This is really not that hard to figure out. But it is very discouraging to see Google taking what is really an anti-user action to advance corporate strategy. (I feel the same way about Steve's anti-flash crusade). H.264 is baked into an enormous amount of video hardware, both pro and consumer, as well as the Blu-ray standard. Google is throwing a monkey wrench into an ecosystem that was finally beginning to work for all of us consumers and developers. Mmmmph!
Can't we all just get along?

Okay, so Chrome will dump H.264, great. To avoid having to use Flash: For Mac users, just use Safari or Opera. For Windows users, wait for IE9 or use Safari for Windows

Who Should Be Get IT Right is NOT " Apple " but " Google "!!!!!!!!!!!!
DO YOU Still Naiively, Foolishly Believe that " Google is Open Architecture Champion "??????????
And Apple Secluded Closed Garden????????
How Childish, and How Stupid ARE YOU in Worshipping Bogus DisGuised " King of Open Source System "!!!!!!!
You NEVER KNOW What The True Meaning of " REAL OPEN SYSTEM " is!!!!!!!!!!
Mr.S.J's Comment About Android & Google is " REALLY RESERVED ONE "!!!!!!!!
What Not Only He And We Really Want to Say is:
All this Android's Open Source marketing is BS.
The truth is Android is "Openly Stolen Intellectual Property".

  • Stolen Multi-touch interface from Apple.
  • Stolen App store from Apple.
  • Stolen intellectual properties from WinMo.
  • Stolen JAVA from SUN/Oracle.
  • Stolen Location Service from Skyhook.
  • Stolen Logo/Icon name from Atari.

And What The Most Significant " FAKE " is :

  • Wide OPEN to Carriers and Manufacturers BUT Desperately CLOSED TO END-USERS, Unless Rooted!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You TELL us ALL The READERS about THAT Android Phones' " INFAMOUS BLOATWARE " for Our Reference????????
What Real Open Source means:
"Open source is a development method for software that harnesses the power of distributed peer review and transparency of process. The promise of open source is better quality, higher reliability, more flexibility, lower cost, and an end to predatory vendor lock-in."
Android is not Open Source because Google develop it behind closed doors and don't contribute back to the upstream Linux kernel. They "use" Open Source but they don't contribute to it which makes them leeches.
Android apps and games run inside their Java VM only and don't benefit the broader GNU/Linux ecosystem.
Google doesn't care about real Open Source licences. All they care about is harvesting as much information from fAndroids so as to sell them more advertising. It's ultimately about how much money they can squeeze out of users.
WE ( At Least REAL TECHIES unlike YOU ) ALL KNOW Android's Open Source is just a " MARKETING LABEL "!!!!!!!!!!!!.
In A NutShell, Android Open System is Counterfeited!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Google is NOW Trying to Do The Same Thing Again With Their WebM for SURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gosh, these "open source" addicts are so naive, it is embarrassing. Google is in a way more aggressive than M$. There's nothing in Google's stupid (sorry, no other way to call it) move. Google is an advertising company. Read the article of the link below. Still, it could be real fun seeing YouTube going for WebM and losing its business, when some smart video-site will take the benefit of getting the videos straight from the mobile handsets - which are ALL h.264 HW accelerated. How about Twitter or Facebook killing YouTube with a pure H.264 video sharing site? It could be great to see Chrome and YouTube go down together. As for me, I am using the Maxthon3 browser. It is FREE, it supports H.264, HTML5 and video tags. It is faster than Chrome, and TechCrunch tagged it a while ago as the best PC browser. Try it yourself FREE. (I have no interest in Maxthon whatsoever. I just hate bandits)http://www.tightwind.net/2011/01/android-isnt-about-building-a-mobile-pl...

Hi,I just was trying this out. I had some difficulty in doing it, but I eventually realized that I had to give my buttons Tag numbers in IB.