At Google's annual developers conference today most analysts were predicting Google to announce their partnerships with manufactures for new television set-top boxes built with Google's Android OS. They didn't --- but they did announce that they plan to make their WebM codec completely open source and license free. The video codec was acquired earlier this year for $124.6 million from On2 Technologies and is competing with h264 which is owned by the MPEG LA a patent pool which both Apple and Microsoft are part of. Beginning today, all videos that are 720p or larger uploaded to YouTube will be be encoded in WebM. Google has also released a WebM software developer kit and source code.
Google just gave the Internet community a $124 million Christmas present. The lack of a well performing HD open source codec had been holding many projects back. Hopefully it will work well and be quickly adopted.