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Five Years of YouTube and Forced Evolution 329

NakNak writes to mention that the DailyMaverick has a feature looking back at five years of YouTube, some of the massive changes that have been forced through as a result of its overwhelming popularity, and what changes might be necessary going forward. "Google, which bought YouTube less than two years after it was founded for what was then considered outrageously expensive $1.65 billion, does not want Microsoft or Apple (or anybody else) to own the dominant video format. So it has become the biggest early tester of HTML5. Your browser doesn't support HTML5? Google launches its own browser, Chrome. Need to use Internet Explorer at work because that's all your IT department supports? Google launches a Chrome framework that effectively subverts IE and makes it HTML5-compatible. The final blow will be the day that YouTube switches off Flash and starts streaming only to HTML5 browsers. On that day all browsers will be HTML5 compatible or they will perish in the flames of user outrage."
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Five Years of YouTube and Forced Evolution

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  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <{tepples} {at} {}> on Monday February 15, 2010 @06:10PM (#31149342) Homepage Journal

    YouTube won't turn off Flash until a super-majority of users have HTML-5 compliant browsers.

    That's one reason why Google made Chrome Frame: to make every copy of IE for Windows that's not completely locked down into an HTML5 compliant web browser.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2010 @06:16PM (#31149446)
    H.264 is a open standard, patent encumbered, but open, with several available decoders/encoders.
    Compare to flash, where theres ONE implementation, by the same company writing the "standard", and licensing prohibits writing a compatible decoder...
  • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Monday February 15, 2010 @06:25PM (#31149570) Homepage Journal

    it's not the internet-dominating force this article makes out.

    Did you miss the part about networks being overwhelmed and major fight over who pays for the bandwidth? That's pretty major. Maybe not "dominating", but that's your word.

    If it disappeared tomorrow, than apart from instantly increasing corporate productivity and allowing children everywhere to get their homework done on time, there wouldn't be so much of a change.

    Have you been following the news at all over the last two years? Just a few days ago, the FDIC felt compelled to rebut corruption allegations in a viral video. Other such videos has successfully promoted or destroyed movies, more or less put ACORN out of business, and a lot more. There are niche video stars who now make a living doing with schticks that nobody would have heard of without YouTube. Meanwhile, TV ratings continue to shrink...

    There are also (sit down, this might be a bit of a shock) lots and lots of people who rarely, if ever visit youtube.

    So? There are also lots of people who still don't have cell phones. In both cases, it's a reasonable choice, but it's not the way things are trending.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2010 @06:28PM (#31149618)

    You don't seem to get it. It's too late for ogg. H.264 is already in EVERYTHING. Your blu-ray player plays h.264, your ipod plays it, your psp plays it, your game console plays it, the graphics card in your PC plays it, your mobile phones play it. On top of that, H.264 has significantly better video quality, and will be free until at least 2015, and I'm willing to bet it will continue to be free after that.
    This isn't just about HTML5. The war is already over. Wishing that devices will add support for theora at this point is like wishing that mp3 players would add support for vorbis. No one cares anymore, except about 0.1% of the population.

  • Re:But which codec? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2010 @06:37PM (#31149738)

    Mozilla, for good reasons (IMHO), is not willing to support H.264, but that seems to be the direction YouTube is heading. But as good and open as Theora is, I think don't believe there is any hardware with a Theora accelerator (yet?).

    You can make use of the DSP that's used for H.264 acceleration and use it for Theora acceleration or any other similar workload. That's what's been done here: []

    As mentioned in the post, that work is broadly applicable to Nokia's N series of phones, the Motorola Droid, and the Palm Pre. There are millions of devices in the field today which are capable of accelerated Theora playback. All they need is the software.

    See also Christopher Blizzard's post on the importance of open formats to the future of the web: []

    In the comments Christopher Montgomery from, the foundation behind Theora, says:

    "As for the chicken/egg problem of hardware support, several big commercial groups are already scrambling to get over it, partly because full Theora support in hardware is so much simpler than full h264 support. It’s a tiny fraction of the complexity. You practically get that many transistors for free in the today’s average cardboard cereal box. Can’t say more– NDAs. But that’s OK, it will be reality or not soon enough."

    As you say, Microsoft's lack of HTML5 support will probably be a problem for some time. Fortunately, it can be worked around with Cortado [] or Highgate media suite's Theora for Silverlight []

  • by Insanity Defense ( 1232008 ) on Monday February 15, 2010 @06:49PM (#31149882)

    It will then be up to the user to aquire the required codecs and what not, which can't legally be distributed in North America as entirely free software,

    Can't legally be distributed in the United States. Canada does not have software patents so it can be distributed here. I don't know about Mexico.

  • Re:Thanks to YouTube (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rei ( 128717 ) on Monday February 15, 2010 @09:44PM (#31151242) Homepage

    After some searching, I came up with this list of supposedly the ten oldest jokes, as compiled by a University of Wolverhampton study commissioned by the TV channel "Dave":

    1. Something which has never occurred since time immemorial: a young woman did not fart in her husband's lap (1900 BC - 1600 BC Sumerian Proverb Collection 1.12-1.13)

    2. How do you entertain a bored pharaoh? You sail a boatload of young women dressed only in fishing nets down the Nile and urge the pharaoh to go catch a fish (An abridged version first found in 1600 BC on the Westcar Papryus)

    3. Three ox drivers from Adab were thirsty: one owned the ox, the other owned the cow and the other owned the wagon's load. The owner of the ox refused to get water because he feared his ox would be eaten by a lion; the owner of the cow refused because he thought his cow might wander off into the desert; the owner of the wagon refused because he feared his load would be stolen. So they all went. In their absence the ox made love to the cow which gave birth to a calf which ate the wagon's load. Problem: Who owns the calf?! (1200 BC)

    4. A woman who was blind in one eye has been married to a man for 20 years. When he found another woman he said to her, "I shall divorce you because you are said to be blind in one eye." And she answered him: "Have you just discovered that after 20 years of marriage!?" (Egyptian circa 1100 BC)

    5. Odysseus tells the Cyclops that his real name is nobody. When Odysseus instructs his men to attack the Cyclops, the Cyclops shouts: "Help, nobody is attacking me!" No one comes to help. (Homer. The Odyssey 800 BC)

    6. Question: What animal walks on four feet in the morning, two at noon and three at evening? Answer: Man. He goes on all fours as a baby, on two feet as a man and uses a cane in old age (Appears in Oedipus Tyrannus and first performed in 429 BC)

    7. Man is even more eager to copulate than a donkey - his purse is what restrains him (Egyptian, Ptolemaic Period 304 BC - 30 BC)

    8. Augustus was touring his Empire and noticed a man in the crowd who bore a striking resemblance to himself. Intrigued he asked: "Was your mother at one time in service at the Palace?" "No your Highness," he replied, "but my father was." (Credited to the Emporer Augustus 63 BC - 29 AD)

    9. Wishing to teach his donkey not to eat, a pedant did not offer him any food. When the donkey died of hunger, he said "I've had a great loss. Just when he had learned not to eat, he died." (Dated to the Philogelos 4th /5th Century AD)

    10. Asked by the court barber how he wanted his hair cut, the king replied: "In silence." (Collected in the Philogelos or "Laughter-Lover" the oldest extant jest book and compiled in the 4th/5th Century AD)

    I suspect that #2 is actually a double entendre, since "spearing fish" was an Egyptian euphemism for having sex (the word for "to spear" also means "impregnate", while the word for "throwstick" also means "to beget". The Nile marshes themselves were considered a symbol of fertility because of an association with Hathor.

    The oldest joke from Britain was:

    "What hangs at a man's thigh and wants to poke the hole that it's often poked before? Answer: A key."

  • by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @12:23AM (#31152088)

    Waaaaah waaaaah waaaaah I hate change. Change sucks!

    A lot of times it does. In this specific case, posting a URL to a specific youtube video will soon look like posting a URL to a location in googlemaps, and you apparently can't rewind and rewatch a clip you just saw as easily, or spend some time choosing a related clip; they force one on you.

  • by CopaceticOpus ( 965603 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:03AM (#31154614)

    For one thing, you can make annoying animated music playing hovering popup advertisements today without using Flash.

    Once HTML5 is in place, the browser will have more control over how audio and video is played. This means that the browser or a browser extension will be able to block audio and video from unapproved sites, in the same way that Flash and Javascript blockers work today.

Exceptions prove the rule, and wreck the budget. -- Miller