Google Chrome 3 adds HTML5 video

From the ‘didn’t they just release version 2?‘ files:

Google Chrome is on a rather rapid release schedule. The browser first debuted last year, hit version 2 (stable) last week and is now at version 3. Google Chrome has three versions stable, beta and dev.

The big line item improvement in Chrome 3 is support for the HTML 5 <video> tag. Basically what this means is that instead of a developer or site using an <embed> to call up a proprietary/external video player (flash or otherwise), the video can be call directly from HTML. Apple Safari 4 and Firefox 3.5 both already have preliminary support for <video>.

The <video> tag could potentially revolutionize web video delivery — then again it might not.

At this stage it is not clear to me that all the browser vendors support the <video> tag in a standardized way. For example, Firefox uses it to call Ogg Theora (an open source video format) that is not yet nearly as widely used as Adobe’s Flash. YouTube, arguably the world’s most popular video site uses <embed> and considering how long it takes users to shift browsers it could take years until the bulk of the web’s population is using <video> enabled browsers. By using an <embed> developers and sites likely will have a wider video audience for a few years to come.

That said the promise of <video> is large. As a standard HTML tag is is subject to more granular inline control than an <embed> object can provide.

It will be interesting to see where the HTML5 standards on <video> settle, but in the meantime it is great that Chrome is now embracing <video>.

Considering that Google updates its users more frequently than others and the fact that Google own YouTube, Google is in a unique position to actually make the <video> tag a very pracitical reality for millions of users sooner rather than later.

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