When Google purchased YouTube back in 2006, the Flash video (FLV) format got an astronomical boots almost overnight. The media format became even more popular, the Flash/Flex pair gained notoriety as a viable platform, Adobe fortified its arsenals in the battle for media dominance. This single act shadowed other players such as Real, Microsoft, and to a certain extent Apple’s QuickTime (when was the last time you embedded a Microsoft Media Player on your website).
Today (in TechChruch), it was announced that Google is purchasing On2, the media compression technology company behind many of the most popular media codecs including FLV. This has the potential to change the course of online video technologies once again. One can only imagine some of the implications this purchase will have
- It moves Google higher in the media compression food chain and gives it complete control of the most popular codecs used on the web.
- Google may open source the current proprietary VP6 (on which Flash video is based) & VP7 codec formats that On2 licenses to companies. They may decide to provide needed support for the Ogg Theora format and make it first class citizen in the compression stack.
- With Google’s push of HTML5 which includes the notion of built-in video/audio support, one can rightly guess that we will see On2 technologies in Chrome Browser, Chrome OS, and Android and anywhere else Google control (which is wide and far).
- As Ogg (Vorbis and Theora) becomes the open source format of choice for media delivery, Google will wield its influence on the format and direction of media deliver on the web.
Why am I rambling about On2, Ogg, and video codec formats? Well, it all has to do with JavaFX. One of the selling point of JavaFX is portable playback of Video/Audio basedon VP6 (consequently FLV). With the purchase of On2, Google will have a direct control of the destiny of media codec supported by JavaFX. Depending on how Google proceeds, we, in the Java community, may see positive developments for JavaFX and this is how:
- Google open sources the On2 codec stack: big win for JavaFX (to a certain extent Adobe). This will imply that JavaFX applications can take part in the online media revolution with lowered entry points.We probably will see Java bindings to the codec’s API’s which means building both encoders and players in Java/JavaFX.
- If the stack is open source, this may also mean eventual support on JavaFX mobile platforms.
- Google may make On2 encoding tools available for free: another win for JavaFX! More videos being created with the supported On2 formats means more opportunities for JavaFX developers to create players.
Or, Google may decide to just sit on the technologies use them to further their ambitions in Mobile, desktop OS, and web markets. Only time will tell.