Google's dropped support for H.264 sparks controversy

Google - under fire
Google - under fire

Google's decision to drop support for the H.264 video codec for its Chrome browsers to focus on open source solutions has been met with calls of hypocrisy.

Google has decided to support its WebM and the Theora codecs for its < video > tag, insisting that it wants to support open source codecs instead of the likes of H.264.

"…We are supporting the WebM (VP8) and Theora video codecs, and will consider adding support for other high-quality open codecs in the future," explained Mike Jazayeri on the Chromium blog.

Important role

"Though H.264 plays an important role in video, as our goal is to enable open innovation, support for the codec will be removed and our resources directed towards completely open codec technologies," he added.

"These changes will occur in the next couple months but we are announcing them now to give content publishers and developers using HTML < video > an opportunity to make any necessary changes to their sites."

However, the news has been met with calls of hypocrisy over support for Flash within Chrome.

Adobe-owned Flash is not, of course, open source and the H.264 statement has left critics suggesting that Google is being hypocritical in its reasoning to drop support of one closed source plugin but not a more commercially crucial one.

It's an argument that is likely to rumble on and on, but Google may find that it needs to act consistently if it is to quell suggestions that it is acting in its own interests but pretending to do the right thing.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.