Google wants VP9 to be the default

Google has finished defining its VP9 video codec and has started using the next-generation compression technology in Chrome and on YouTube.

The web-search outfit has already enabled the free video compression standard by default in the latest Chromium build.

Developer and Google open-source Chromium evangelist François Beaufort spotted the change in his latest download. Writing in his bog he pointed to a Chromium code review with the following short but succinct description: “Remove VP9 flag, and enable VP9 support by default.”

For those who came in late, VP9 is part of Google’s WebM project. Its aim is to free up Web codecs from royalty constraints. WebM has been on the drawing board for three years. Its VP8 is still rarely used when compared to H.264, which is the most popular video codec.

The advantage of VP9 for users is that it’s more efficient than H.264 and uses half the bandwidth. H.264 is about to be killed off by H.265 which has a similar performance and this means that VP9’s only hope is the fact that it is royalty free.

However VP9 still has to run a gauntlet of patent trademarks. VP8 saw patent-infringement attacks from Nokia. Google is expected to have worked its way around those problems as part of its efforts to get VP9 as part of WebRTC, an open project that lets users communicate in real-time via voice and video without any need for plug-ins.

Google has told the world before that it wants to build VP9 into Chrome and the integration is doing just that. YouTube said last month it plans to add support for VP9 once the video codec has been installed in Chrome, so we can expect an announcement about that soon.