YouTube is encoding all new uploads in Google’s WebM open-source video format, the site announced Tuesday on its blog. Google is also working on transcoding the entire existing YouTube catalog to WebM. YouTube is spending significant resources on this conversion, showing how serious Google is about WebM.
“Given the massive size of our catalog — nearly 6 years of video is uploaded to YouTube every day — this is quite the undertaking. So far we’ve already transcoded videos that make up 99% of views on the site or nearly 30% of all videos into WebM.”
YouTube started to transcode some of its catalog right after Google open-sourced WebM last May, and WebM Product Manager John Luther said last November that the site had made 80 percent of the most popular videos available in WebM.
However, most YouTube users won’t get to see any of the clips in the new format; users have to have a browser supporting WebM and actively opt into the HTML5 trial. WebM is currently supported by Firefox, Chrome and Opera. IE users can watch WebM videos by installing an additional codec, and Apple’s Steve Jobs has made it clear he won’t support WebM at all.
The open format recently made headlines when MPEG LA opened up a call for patents to form a WebM patent pool. Google has rejected the idea that WebM is subject to patents held by other companies.