Swiftly following Microsoft’s release of Internet Explorer 9, Google has issued a plug-in for the new browser that allows users to play videos in Google’s WebM video file format.
The release, a technical preview, can be installed for IE9 running on either Microsoft Windows 7 or Windows Vista.
“They said elephants couldn’t ride flying dolphins. They said that one of the world’s most popular browsers couldn’t play WebM video in HTML5. They were wrong,” The Google Web page for the plug-in stated.
The release represents the latest installment in the ongoing saga of bringing video to HTML5, the next-generation standard for designing Web pages.
Browser makers have not reached consensus on which video format to use. While Apple and Microsoft have put their weight behind the widely used H.264, Mozilla and Opera have declined to support that codec, citing worries over eventually having to pay patent royalties.
Last year, Google acquired video-compression-technology vendor On2 Technologies, which developed the open source VP8 video codec. Google subsequently used VP8 as the basis for creating WebM, positioning it as a patent-free alternative to H.264-based formats.
While this new WebM release still requires a plug-in, it will at least allow content creators using WebM to have their creations be played on the world’s most widely used browser, which may help Google attract more users to the format.
Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab’s e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com