Google teaches Microsoft's IE9 to love open video codec

WebM for Internet Explorer


Updated: This story has been updated to show that the software offered by Google is not a browser plugin per se – though Google originally called it a plugin on its download page. It's software that installs on Windows and it can be used by other Windows applications. You can find an update here.

Google has released software for adding the open source and royalty-free VP8 video codec to Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 browser. IE9 – which made its official debut on Monday – uses the royalty-encumbered H.264 codec, and Microsoft has made it clear that it has no intention of including VP8 on its own.

In a blog post in January, Google indicated that such software was on the way.

Google open sourced the VP8 codec last May under a royalty-free license, rolling it into a large media format known as WebM. The format was promptly adopted by Mozilla's Firefox and Opera as well as Google's Chrome browser, but Apple and Microsoft have stuck with H.264. Both Apple and Microsoft are part of the MPEG-LA patent pool that licenses H.264.

With WebM, Mountain View hopes to create a royalty-free video codec standard for use with the HTML5 video tag. The web giant continues to use the H.264-equipped Adobe Flash on YouTube, saying that HTML5 doesn't yet provide everything the video-sharing site requires. But part of the problem, Google says, is that the major browser makers have yet to agree on a common codec.

Even after Google released WebM, the company's Chrome browser continued to offer H.264 as well. But in mid-January, the company announced that it would finally drop the royalty-encumbered codec from its browser. This has yet to actually happen, though the world assumes that it has. Chrome 11 debuted this month, and it includes H.264.

Google tells us, however, that it still intends to remove H.264. And to further nudge the industry towards WebM, it's giving IE9 users the option of installing a plug-in that adds WebM to Microsoft new browser. Google has a habit of doing such things. The company already offers a plug-in – Google Chrome Frame – that adds Chrome rendering and JavaScript engines to older versions of Internet Explorer, essentially turning Microsoft browsers into Google browsers.

You can download Google's WebM IE9 software here. Google calls it a technology preview, and it works with IE9 on both Windows 7 and Windows Vista. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Want to buy your own piece of the Pi? No 'urgency' says Upton of the listing rumours

    A British success story... what happens next?

    Industry talk is continuing to circulate regarding a possible public listing of the UK makers of the diminutive Raspberry Pi computer.

    Over the weekend, The Telegraph reported that a spring listing could be in the offing, with a valuation of more than £370m.

    Pi boss, Eben Upton, described the newspaper's article as "interesting" in an email to The Register today, before repeating that "we're always looking at ways to fund the future growth of the business, but the $45m we raised in September has taken some of the urgency out of that."

    Continue reading
  • JetBrains embraces remote development with new IDE for multiple programming languages

    Security, collaboration, flexible working: Fleet does it all apparently

    JetBrains has introduced remote development for its range of IDEs as well as previewing a new IDE called Fleet, which will form the basis for fresh tools covering all major programming languages.

    JetBrains has a core IDE used for the IntelliJ IDEA Java tool as well other IDEs such as Android Studio, the official programming environment for Google Android, PyCharm for Python, Rider for C#, and so on. The IDEs run on the Java virtual machine (JVM) and are coded using Java and Kotlin, the latter being primarily a JVM language but with options for compiling to JavaScript or native code.

    Fleet is "both an IDE and a lightweight code editor," said the company in its product announcement, suggesting perhaps that it is feeling some pressure from the success of Microsoft's Visual Studio Code, which is an extensible code editor. Initial language support is for Java, Kotlin, Go, Python, Rust, and JavaScript, though other languages such as C# will follow. Again like VS Code, Fleet can run on a local machine or on a remote server. The new IDE uses technology developed for IntelliJ such as its code-processing engine for features such as code completion and refactoring.

    Continue reading
  • Nextcloud and cloud chums fire off competition complaint to the EU over Microsoft bundling OneDrive with Windows

    No, it isn't the limited levels of storage that have irked European businesses

    EU software and cloud businesses have joined Nextcloud in filing a complaint with the European Commission regarding Microsoft's alleged anti-competitive behaviour over the bundling of its OS with online services.

    The issue is OneDrive and Microsoft's habit of packaging it (and other services such as Teams) with Windows software.

    Nextcloud sells on-premises collaboration platforms that it claims combine "the convenience and ease of use of consumer-grade solutions like Dropbox and Google Drive with the security, privacy and control business needs." Microsoft's cloud storage system, OneDrive, is conspicuous by its absence.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021