In an effort to improve the quality of its video streaming service YouTube, search engine giant Google plans to transcode most popular videos on the site to its WebM format.
Already nearly thirty percent of the site has been converted to the WebM format which incidentally uses an open compression technology and is also royalty free. While the conversion of the entire catalogue may take years, the fact that most popular videos have been converted essentially means that the new format covers nearly 99 percent of YouTube viewing.
The move by Google comes close on the heels of its decision to drop the H.264 standard from its Chrome web browser. The H.264 standard is reportedly favoured by technology majors Apple and Microsoft while Google it seems is now looking at pursuing an open standard.
The move also is likely to adversely affect the popularity of Adobe’s Flash video format since Google plans to convert all old videos present in Flash format to the WebM standard. Given the dominance of YouTube in online video streaming market, over time the popularity of Flash is going to take a significant hit, more so with YouTube firming up plans to develop its own HTML5 video player.