Google has announced that that its WebM participants will share patents with one another in a royalty-free arrangement. This will enable faster development of the codec, which is designed to provide a way for users to share video on the web.
WebM allows providers to place native HTML5 video on their websites. HTML5 is supported by the newest generation of browsers and this codec is designed to allow developers to place video content on their sites without having to pay licensing fees to private companies. According to WebMonkey.com, there are 16 companies involved in the launch of this product.
Currently, Flash is the mainstay of websites that deliver video content. Flash, however, is a proprietary offering of Adobe and this irks many webmasters that want to be able to work free from licensing restrictions. There has also been a longstanding conflict between Apple and Adobe about making Flash available on Apple devices, with both accusing the other of being needlessly obstructionist.
Other options on the market include the H.264 codec. This is a popular streaming format but it comes at a price. The Google WebM project is designed to provide an open source solution that will liberate developers from having to be concerned with licensing at all.
There is already WebM video available on YouTube. Google’s entry into the browser market, Chrome, doesn’t currently support H.264, so having an open source alternative would be beneficial to the company in that regard, as well. Microsoft’s new IE9 supports WebM, as well, making it almost universally available to users.
Streams and TV
Internet streaming has increasingly been taking over television’s role. News events are routinely streamed live, as are sporting events. The advent of broadband connections has made streaming video even easier to include in sites. The longstanding disputes over what format to stream in, however, have dominated the world of development for many years. The WebM project is hoped to bring this to an end and allow developers to easily and inexpensively add this popular form of content to their websites without having to use technologies that require them to pay license fees and to be restricted by licensing terms.