4 Comments

Summary:

Any new video uploaded to YouTube will be automatically encoded in WebM, the open-source video format that’s backed by Google, Mozilla and others. YouTube has also been busy transcoding its back catalog and has now around 30 percent of all videos available in WebM.

webm logo

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.

From the blog post:

“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.

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  1. Hamranhansenhansen Wednesday, April 20, 2011

    So 30% of YouTube has been converted from ISO standard audio video to Google’s proprietary format. It’s still available in ISO standard format, but it’s been converted also.

    What’s left is: 70% of YouTube, 100% of iTunes, 100% of Blu-Ray, 100% of Hulu, 100% of Netflix, 100% of ABC, 100% of Fox, 100% of Xbox, 100% of FlashPlayer, 100% of QuickTime Player, 100% of Pandora, 100% of Spotify, 100% of cable TV, 100% of satellite, all of the digital movie cinemas, all of the music consumers have ever ripped from CD or DVD, and all of the movies consumers shot during the 21st century. We don’t have the computing resources for that yet, but we could always upload to YouTube, right? RIGHT.

    Once that is all done, then we can … what? Remove the ISO audio video decoders that are in all of our PC’s, mobiles, and set-tops? The H.264 patents will be expired by then anyway. Including the ones that WebM infringes.

    So this is simply an effort to replace the universal, vendor-neutral ISO standard for audio video with a de facto Google-controlled format. No, not WebM … YouTube. If I can just play the video from my camcorder or phone or video editor in a Web browser, then why do I need YouTube? And if I need to make multiple formats to reach all users, is there any choice other than YouTube? No.

    Avoiding that kind of PC industry -like monopolistic behavior is why we have ISO audio video standards in consumer electronics. Apple is much bigger than Google but they did not leverage video formats in this way because they only sell and play ISO standard audio video. That’s why the music from your iPod plays on your Google phone.

    Google fanboys, please: begin your excusifying. And don’t forget to explain why Google only paid 6% in taxes last year even though their billion dollar profits grew by 17%. And while you are at it, explain why they collected SSN’s from kids who entered the Doodles for Google contest. I’m sure there must be perfectly reasonable non-evil explanations because, well, that’s their motto, right?

    1. How about instead of trying to make 20 different points badly, take the time and make one well argued point.
      Are you implying that Youtube using WebM would somehow lock people into the service?
      What exactly is preventing other web video services from using WebM?
      And how can WebM be proprietary and be licensed under BSD at the same time?

  2. Hello, any idea if this html webm format saves mobile broadband 3G bandwidth for verizon and att and customer, and by what factor ? I have limited 3G bandwidth. Any plans to make this default in Google Chrome and Android for youtube etc ?

    Thanks, Avinash

  3. Hassan Wharton-Ali Tuesday, April 26, 2011

    There is 2 sides to this issue. 1 is that it is good to have more competition in the market and not have all IP wrapped up with one etity such as MPEGLA. The other side is that it adds yet another codec to the playing field that require users to install that is not universal across browsers and devices.

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