Google Chrome And Adobe Flash: Versus Apple, They're Talking Trash
Ok, walk through this one with me:
- Google buys On2, whose VP series of video codecs (which the company may be angling to offer as an open-source HTML 5 technology alternative) are competitors to the Sorenson and H.264 (aka MPEG-4 AVC, aka MPEG-4 JVT, aka MPEG-4 Part 10) codecs at the core of Adobe Flash
- Google announces it plans to retire Gears in favor of HTML 5
- HTML 5 specification development is co-managed by Ian Hickson, a Google employee, and
- Google’s YouTube division rolls out Flash-less versions of some of its content, based solely on an experimental HTML 5-coded player.
- A bunch of Google engineers even recently ported Quake 2 to HTML 5 for native browser-based execution.
Given these five data points, you might conclude that Google is pretty down on Adobe and Flash, right? Well…not exactly. Tuesday, in fact, Google announced that it plans to embed native Flash support into both its Chrome browser and Chrome O/S (Betanews has a solid summary of the ’sandbox’ issues that Google will need to address).
Part of the reason, I suspect, is pragmatism; as I explained in late February, Flash isn’t disappearing (or even notably retrenching) any time soon. And part of the reason, I suspect, is the growing animosity between Google and Apple. Apple’s drawn a very clear ‘Flash is bad’ line in the sand (fundamentally for self-serving control-over-content reasons, I suspect) and is doing everything in its power to hasten HTML 5’s ascendance at Flash’s expense. Google sees a Flash embrace, at least in the short term, as a means of winning over a large software partner, a host of independent developers, and innumerable hardware, software and services customers alike.
How this will all play out is yet to be determined. But although I don’t underestimate the power of the Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field, I wouldn’t necessary bet against the ‘Don’t Be Evil’ gang, either.