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Google Gives Away Video Software to Lure Developers

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Google Vice President, Engineering Vic Gundotra

Google Vice President, Engineering Vic Gundotra introduced the WebM royalty-free video format at the Google I/O developers' conference.

Credit: CNet

Google recently gave away a piece of intellectual property the company gained after its $120 million acquisition of On2 three months ago.

At its annual I/O developers' conference, Google offered a free version of VP8, a video codec designed to compress video files for online transfers and to decompress it for playback. VP8 is being promoted as a crucial tool that will bring a new wave of online innovation, and Google has combined it with existing technology to create WebM. WebM essentially completes the capabilities of HTML5, which can be used to create Web pages of text and images but requires licensing a proprietary format in order to include video. Google is collaborating with software firms and chip manufacturers to distribute WebM and is building trial versions into various browsers.

University of California, Irvine professor Ramesh Jain says the combination of HTML5 and WebM would free developers to innovate and experiment with a new kind of functionality. Google's move also provides tremendous gains for the mobile hardware industry, which has traditionally been burdened by onerous video codec licensing fees.

From Technology Review
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