Google's V8 Video Codec Now More Open than Ever

Pulkit Chandna

Google debuted its open, royalty-free WebM video format last month. Based on the open-source V8 video codec, WebM is meant as a challenger to the propriety H.264 video codec, which threatens to saddle web video with hefty licensing fees and royalties.

Google, Opera and Mozilla are easily its most prominent backers, with the trio pledging WebM support in their respective browsers. As for the rival camp, Apple's weight is firmly behind H.264, whereas another important patron, Microsoft, has decided to support both H.264 and WebM beginning with IE9.

Now Google is busy honing the V8 codec . It has “added an experimental branch to the VP8 source tree” so that the community can easily propose changes to the codec for the sake of achieving better performance and stability. If it proves “significantly better” than the stable version, the experimental branch will be merged into the main branch.

“Like every codec, WebM is not immune to change; the difference in our project is that the improvements are publicly visible, and compatibility and implementation issues can be worked through in an open forum,” Jim Bankoski, Google's Codec Engineering Manager, wrote in a blog post.

Image Credit: MIT

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