A little over half a year ago, Google announced its WebM video codec and now they've taken the project further by extending full support to this codec as well as Theora. Chromium Project Manager Mike Jazayeri writes that his team is “changing Chrome’s HTML5 support to make it consistent with the codecs already supported by the open Chromium (Chromium) project.” This means WebM and Theora will be supported and H.264 will be phased out.
WebM basically opens the possibility for open-source, royalty-free online video. Google has been using this format in its HTML5 Youtube experiment. Jazayeri says that now only open-source video will be supported. As far as playback goes, it's only WebM and Theora that are supported so far. Theora is still a technology far from perfection. This raises questions as to why Google is supporting an inferior technology while dropping support altogether for H.264 which has been an industry standard, and the superior format since 2003 (Apple strongly supports H.264). This move by Google seems to only cater to the supporters of open-source video. We'll see how this plays out for them.