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Google Graphics Media The Internet Upgrades News

New VP8 Codec SDK Release Improves Performance 168

An anonymous reader writes "Google released a new version of the VP8 codec SDK on Thursday. They note a number of performance improvements over the launch release including 20-40% (average 28%) improvement in libvpx decoder speed, an over 7% overall PSNR improvement (6.3% SSIM) in VP8 'best' quality encoding mode, and up to 60% improvement on very noisy, still or slow moving source video. In other WebM news, Texas Instruments has a demo of 1080p WebM video playing on their new TI OMAP 4 processor, in both Android and Ubuntu."
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New VP8 Codec SDK Release Improves Performance

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  • by dcposch ( 1438157 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @06:45AM (#34078438)

    Google follows a really interesting pattern. As far as I can tell, all their software is reactive, rather than proactive.

    It is the result of saying "Everyone's using X, but it sucks. We can do it better." They then take a very methodical, PhD-oriented approach to solving the problem. A few parts innovation, many parts simple engineering.

    • It started with just Larry and Sergey, working on their PhDs, using AltaVista and realizing that there was a capital-B Better Way.
    • Then, Gmail was a response to the festering bag of fail that was Hotmail. I distinctly remember the moment when I got my account, back at the very beginning when each one had two invites. I had been in middle of my annoying daily routine, cleaning my Hotmail inbox to get it under 2MB. Gmail had a gigabyte of storage and Google search. My 14-year-old mind was blown.
    • Google News was a response to all those spammy, human-curated news portals like Yahoo and MSN.
    • Google Maps was a response to MapQuest.
    • Chrome was a response to IE and FF just not being fast or stable enough.
    • Now, VP8 is a response to patent-encumbered codecs and shitty Flash.

    Now they have 10000 employees, but the basic formula hasn't changed. Is there software that Google has made that hasn't been a direct response to an existing product?

    That said, I think there's definitely a case to be made that Google is the software industry's first adult. Software's awkward adolescent foibles are on their way out. No more 90s, no millions and millions of VC dollars being spent on, no more Netscape and Microsoft working furiously on really terrible codebases adding incompatible nonstandard crap to the internet. No more Myspace, no more Geocities. No more paperclips bouncing around asking me if I'm writing a letter; I'm using Google Docs now.

    Google approaches software the way a civil engineering firm would approach a skyscraper: they are actual engineers. They collaborate with academia. They write papers. They sit on the W3C and help create standards. They have architects, PMs, devs, testers, and even lawyers to support their projects.

    In a way, this is a sad thing. It was a magical time, when a university student in Finland could just sit down, write a simple OS for x86, and watch half the internet run on it a few years later. When a kid from Texas could create a whole new genre of games in a few thousand lines of C. Sometimes I worry that I was born a couple years too late.

    Halfway through my CS degree, I hope that the era of cowboy coders isn't entirely done. It would be a terrible shame if CS became just another engineering specialization. At the same time, Google's professionalism is a breath of fresh air.

    • Hmm, google wave perhaps?

    • Where are my mod points when I need 'em? D:
    • by toby ( 759 )

      I hope that the era of cowboy coders isn't entirely done

      Judging from the world *outside* Google, it's cowboys all the way down.

      Or, you've already made a start on the path to working *inside* Google, with your degree. Good luck!

      • Given Google's customer support I'd say they're not entirely professional. I think customer support should be the most important thing especially when asking people to try your new way of doing things. Leaving people virtually the only option of asking for help on message boards is pretty awful and their documentation appears to not get updated that much even when it starts becoming out of date.

        Google has good coders who write awesome software with exceptional APIs and they have excellent ideas (yes, ev
    • Is there software that Google has made that hasn't been a direct response to an existing product?

      Well... sometimes it's easier to just buy existing products rather than "respond" to the market yourself.

      Google Earth was bought from Keyhole and rebranded.

      Youtube was bought and the brandname was kept.

      Doubleclick was bought and the brandname was locked in a cupboard, and the key thrown away, the cubpoard was put in a seachest, the chest was put on a container ship and the ship towed out and scuttled

    • by l0b0 ( 803611 )
      Google has indeed shown us that reinventing the wheel can be innovation, if done properly. As someone who is only occasionally uncomfortable with their handling of privacy, it is for now a small price to pay - Especially when their innovations are not tied to advertising, such as this.
      • Google Search was not simply a re-invention of AltaVista. It is a vast improvement.

        GMail was not simply a re-invention of Hotmail. It was a vast improvement.

        etc etc. The term "re-invent the wheel" implies you are doing something identical via a new method. That is not what Google does. They make bigger, better wheels.

      • If you think about how the 'incumbents' in the software industry work - their business models are not about technology or product quality, but about first capturing a monopoly (by any means available), then trying to hang on to it for as long as possible (by any means available).

        Like a skyscraper shadowing a garden, this has the effect of making it almost impossible for small players to sprout or survive very long. The resources - sunlight, nutrition in the metaphor - just aren't enough.

        However if an upstar

      • by hitmark ( 640295 )

        Perhaps evolution is a better word the reinventing?

    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      Funny but you have described IBM and DEC as well. Back when minis and mainframes ruled the earth that is how software was written for the most part. And no the wild west has just moved to the mobile space.
      But I find your comments funny about no more Myspace or geocites. Myspace came after Google's social network Orkut ay nd Geocities was replaced in large part by Blogger.
      And instead of we have Twitter and FourSquare. FourSquare btw seems to have figured out how to make money which is good because I

    • Google's money is coming in from ads, that's their core business. Provided that income stream keeps going, their other focus is to reduce the income of their competitors (eg Microsoft) by turning everything they do into a commodity. Webmail, Office Suite, Maps, Browsers, Codecs, Instant Messaging... These are all products that someone else was profiting from.
    • by mestar ( 121800 )


    • Except that Google News has a Fox News infestation they don't seem to give two figs about. Any story remotely political (US political), and the headline GN picks will be propagandistic drivel written by the minions of Roger Ailes.
  • From TFA, "TI has long been a supporter of the open source community ........." My ass!
    • true that.
      Not that VP8 is bad or whatever, but, give us OMAP4. Not that it's the best or anything either but it's rather cheap, rather open and rather good. A gumstix OMAP4 would be like a little piece of hacking paradise.

      • by RichiH ( 749257 )

        I would prefer an OMAP4 BeagleBoard with an extension card so I can attach SATA & HDMI, but yes.

        • BeagleBoards are big. There's the BeagleBoard XM which is pretty powerful by the way.
          Also the LeopardBoard which I believe has HDMI, but probably not SATA.

          I want OMAP4+Gumstix for ultra light video processing at HD quality (720p)

          The current common OMAP 3530 (also on the BeagleBoard - standard version)'s DSP just doesn't cut it for HD video encoding. (It's just ok for decoding)

          • by RichiH ( 749257 )

            Big is relative.

            I want an OMAP4 as an always-on server & media system. It can do 1080p decoding while half asleep and has enough power for the odd NFS request or ssh session.

            • by RichiH ( 749257 )

              And in a perfect world, I want another OMAP4 in an ultra-portable Laptop. Thinkpad XO or something would be bliss.

            • Afaik the Beagle XM decodes 1080p30, you might want to look into it.

              For me, Gumstix size is required to be "pocketable". The Beagle is fine for tiny computers (but that doesn't fit in the pocket).

              Might end up buying one of the 720p Android phones myself however, at the next generation in 2011 these phones will be cheaper, more reliable, use less power, be smaller, and more "open source" than the various boards doing 720p today.

              • by RichiH ( 749257 )

                > Afaik the Beagle XM decodes 1080p30

                Will do, but no HDMI is a deal breaker. And no SATA sucks for what I want to do.

I am more bored than you could ever possibly be. Go back to work.