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back to article Google tests (semi) HTML5 YouTube embed code

Google is testing new YouTube embed code that plays videos using either the company's experimental HTML5 player or its standard Flash player, depending on the video and the setup of the user's system. YouTube is still very much wedded to its Flash player, but since January, Google has offered an experimental HTML5 player that …

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Jobs Horns

"It would seem that Google eventually wants to move away from Flash."

That's alright. So does the rest of the Internet.

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@ Neil Alexander

But, like Google, we're waiting for something that does what Flash can do...

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It's already here

Its called silverlight

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Gates Horns

Really, no

No, because despite Adobe's generally crap coding, they do at least understand that if they want to get anywhere they need to run everywhere. Microsoft don't care about other platforms, and they'll quite happily pull the rug out from under you (as has been demonstrated many many many times in the past) if they suddenly change their minds about compatibility.

Embrace <- You are here

Extend

Extinguish

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Grenade

Silverlight

is not fit for any purpose other than locking internet users in to Microsoft platforms.

And before you quote Moonlight back at me, may I suggest that you see how far this lags behind Silverlight, and how many SL sites actually work with the current version of Moonlight.

I admit that on Windows, SL works well, but that is of little interest to me.

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Not even Alpha yet.

>In order to use the HTML5 player, you must join the beta program here

And literally thousands are doing so.....the remaining tens of millions couldn't give a rats arse and go with the solution that:

a: works with all the content

b: doesn't involve doing anything except clicking play

If Google, who edit the HTML5 spec @ W3C and run the largest video site in the history of ever, can't come up with something better than Flash, maybe all the hype merchants can shut up for a while now.

Then again its really cool to say 'html5' a lot even though its not expected to be actually finished until mid-2012 and the real problems of video implementation are now nothing whatsoever to do with it.

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Badgers

Fuck me...

...experimental system "attracts people who like experimental systems, rest of world carries on" shocker.

I am shocked to discover that real innovation is difficult and takes time.

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Boffin

Flash is so broken...

You seem to claim that Flash is so perfect that we should all just continue to use it.

Hmm, would that be the same Flash that:

1) After three years STILL has never delivered a 64-bit Windows implementation, therefore ensuring that all 64-bit Windows users have to muddle along with 32-bit browsers despite IE and other 64-bit browsers being available?

2) Introduced, and then WITHDREW the Flash 64-bit Linux product from the market because they couldn't get it stable enough?

See, that is the real reason that Flash is out of favour - it hasn't kept up with the times, and Adobe seems UNABLE to drive it forward. Or unwilling, same difference.

What we want is something that will play videos and rich media on a 64-bit browser - and right now HTML5 seems to have a much better chance of fulfilling that Flash ever will. 64-bit OSes deserve 64-bit browsers...

[And I won't even address the Flash stability issues, which are painfully real. ]

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Of course...

.... if Google changed the default to HTML 5 and made Flash a sign-up option literally thousands would do so - the remaining tens of millions couldn't give a rats arse and go with the default.

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FAIL

@ Robert Hill

Epic fail - nobody is claiming Flash is so perfect. We ALL know its bugs, issues, and security problems; and I'm certain in the coming months even more stuff will be reported on this very site.

What we ARE claiming is that there is, currently, no viable alternative to Flash. Even after all these years and all these insults and risk warnings and lack of directional support from Adobe, nobody has come up with a viable alternative.

What some of us ARE saying, however, is we ought to stop evangelising HTML5. So it will have support for a video codec. Whoo-hoo. But, you know, the stuff that Flash does is considerably more involved than that - to give some examples: optional user-selectable captioning, overlaid annotations, DRM, inserted ads, active content (like the little "related videos" whizzy that pops up at the end). You'll find a million bad uses of Flash, but you will also find many subtle and good uses of Flash to make simple things that would be just painful to do otherwise. To be honest, I'm not even sure if HTML5 is capable of doing a lot of the stuff Flash can do without fundamentally breaking what HTML is supposed to be about.

As Google themselves are having issues with HTML5, it shows that HTML5 has a loooooong way to go if it thinks it will be able to replace Flash.

In essence, Flash is a pile of cack, but it's the best^Wonly pile of cack we have.

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I fail to see why

a 64bit OS would deserve a 64bit browser.

Unless its a pure 64bit system, in which case its required.

I cant think of anything you could do in a browser that might regularly require 64bit processing nor that should require in excess of 2GB of RAM.

Of course, maybe youve found something that does.

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@heyrick

Re: "the stuff that Flash does is considerably more involved than that - to give some examples: optional user-selectable captioning, overlaid annotations, DRM, inserted ads, active content"

The following is a list of what HTML5 videos+Javascript really, truly, cannot do and Flash can:

-DRM (but who wants it?)

-Full screen (currently full-page is possible)

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Linux

WebM

I thought WebM was invented by On2, who then were bought by Google - surely in an article about WebM, On2 deserve a fleeting mention

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Happy

On2 Technologies

wrote the VP8 video codec. When Google bought On2, they combined it with a Matroska container format and the Vorbis audio codec, and called it WebM, and then licensed the whole under several licenses including the BSD license (although Matroska and Vorbis were already published under open licenses).

So it is not true that On2 invented WebM, although it is true that they wrote the video codec in WebM.

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#Flash is so broken..

>What we want is something that will play videos and rich media on a 64-bit browser - and right now HTML5 seems to have a much better chance of fulfilling that Flash ever will.

html5 doesn't address this at all. It merely passes the problem back to the browser and browser manufacturers all have their own particular axes to grind and probably always will.

As to Linux and OSS. The specification is open, use is unrestricted and good part of Flash/AIR is open-sourced via Tamarin, Webkit etc. There's nothing to stop the Linux world doing it themselves, perhaps it should put its money where its mouth usually is and produce a high quality OSS solution that supports the myriad of problems linux fragmentation around multimedia creates.

Supporting what amounts to dozens of Linux platforms clearly isn't high on Adobe's agenda and doesn't seem to have hurt uptake todate.

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Not dozens, really

"""Supporting what amounts to dozens of Linux platforms clearly isn't high on Adobe's agenda and doesn't seem to have hurt uptake todate."""

Those dozens of platforms are all rather similar - the differences between distros, besides the general attitude of the system, comes down to slight differences in shared library versions and different package systems. On any of the myriad of standards-following distros, a decently written app will compile just fine, regardless of whether it's AMD64, PPC, X86 underneath. Then all you have to do it package it up, and there are easy ways to do this as well - a single tar file with a shell script to install can support nearly every distro that's got somewhat up to date shared libs.

And of course if they open sourced it, the distro maintainers and / or enthusiasts would take care of all the packing, for people that can't figure out how to compile on their own.

The issue is that Adobe doesn't care, and their code is probably all sorts of hacked and unportable. Blaming Linux for Adobe's lazyness isn't going to get anyone anywhere. But that's alright for you, because it's apparent you haven't really used Linux enough to know what's going on.

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Which dozen linux platforms?

I'm not sure where you get this idea that Adobe would have to go about "Supporting what amounts to dozens of Linux platforms...".

Last time I checked there was one Kernel with several versions -- and a binary compiled against one will most likely work with any later version.

Either that or I'm imagining that the 64bit Flash plugin I am currently using has worked with at least 3 different kernels and has been reported to work on all the major distributions?

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Anonymous Coward

@cam

>I'm not sure where you get this idea that Adobe would have to go about "Supporting what amounts to dozens of Linux platforms...".

Mostly from trying to get AIR applications working reliably on varied Linux desktops, though also from a decade long experience of using Linux servers.

I said amounts to, because Linux multimedia is woefully fragmented across distros and for that matter within them. A consistent kernel is neither here nor there. There are half a dozen sound systems, the most commonly used of which suck massively with respect to latency in particular.

To give a recent example from my own work - trot over to PulseAudio (Ubuntu's weapon of choice) and search Flash audio sync or similar in the bug history, you'll find they broke it in Flash Player with practically every release since 2007, then took an age to issues fixes. The workaround we recommend currently for Ubuntu users who want their mp3 playback without 2 seconds of latency in AIR applications is to ditch ALSA/PulseAudio and install OSS4. Works very reliably, but not for the feint of heart - but if you ring Canonical they'll tell you its 'probably a Flash player issue, contact Adobe'. Doesn't suprise me Adobe lose interest when the champion of consumer Linux makes such poor choices.

Likewise there's nothing vaguely on the cards in respect of a consistent API for acceleration of video or drawing functions without which Flash performance is always going to be poor. Its a mess not of Adobe's making and expecting them to provide the solution is unrealistic. Its a wider issue than just Flash - even just playback of video is often a can of worms and forums are full of folk with issues that just don't come up under Windows or OSX.

Look to Android, same kernel afterall - here there's a realistically sized userbase, professional practice, documentation and a consistent multimedia platform and its a very different story. Android Flash is healthier than OSX. Adobe is gifting a ton of new open source in the Flex SDK and looks to be building an impressive level of support into its commercial tools.

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Stop

Here we go again...

Not even the register is immune to the Flash vs HTML5 fanboy wars.

Did you now the iPad isn't the only one without Flash? PowerPC-based Linux operating systems, like Ubuntu, don't have it either. "It must be Canonical's fault!" WRONG. Adobe won't support it, despite it being available for Mac OS X on the exact same architecture. "Then get an Intel machine." For a DAMN PLUGIN!? "Well Flash is open!" In what respect? I'd love for it to be truly open source. Plus it'd give Adobe some good competition.

"Your on a Mac... get Mac OS X Leopard." I'd be surprised to actually see a Flash fanboy say that. Here's the thing, as of now Leopard is only supported via. security updates ONLY. Once 10.7 comes out, your on you're own. Versus Ubuntu, for example, which is currently on it's LTS release.

I'm most likely gonna get hammered really hard for this post. Now, I wouldn't have made this post if my MacBook's keyboard wasn't shot. To think I was originally "meh" over this entire debate.

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Re: Here we go again...

"Did you now the iPad isn't the only one without Flash? "

I'm not rooting for adobe in any way, however with regards to the iphone, it's pretty clear adobe did intend to support it but that apple were the ones who refused to have it.

Apple are the only reason flash is unavailable on the iphone.

Good or bad, we all know the real reason apple bans this and other technologies is because they compete against apple's own store.

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Anonymous Coward

Ummm

Here's the thing, kids. There is nothing to stop you implementing all the whizzy bits of YT's Flash player in Javascript. Heck, ActionScript is little more than souped up JS anyway.

HTML 5 on its own can't. But that's the point. It's not supposed to. You interoperate HTML and Javascript, just like Google EverythingElse™ does.

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Re: Ummm

"Here's the thing, kids. There is nothing to stop you implementing all the whizzy bits of YT's Flash player in Javascript. Heck, ActionScript is little more than souped up JS anyway."

Are you kidding??

I'm sure I'm not the only one who's had disappointing html/javascript results.

Personally I avoid flash development due to it's proprietary and unsupported status on my favorite platforms. However the css/html/javascript toolbox is very weak even for low end graphics.

For highly interactive run time rasterization effects, flash is miles ahead of what html can do.

Personally I wish that java (the manly one) would have won the rich web client battle, but it lost thanks largely to microsoft's attack.

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Happy

Exactly

People seem to conflating the term "HTML 5" with just the <video> tag IN HTML 5. It's a lot more than just a video tag. If you want whizzy bits in your player, you use the <canvas> tag along with Javascript. Which I've been playing with a lot recently, and it's a hell of a lot better than pissing around in Flash Builder - I can do all of my development code in the one IDE (namely, Notepad++).

You can do smooth image fades and transitions, swirly slidy clickable things, water ripple effects, plasma waves, sprites and all the eye-candy that Flash can do - without requiring any plug-ins. I haven't had this much fun since my days of coding Commodore 64 demos back in the 80s. Speed the day everyone uses a browser that supports it so I can throw Flash out the bloody window!

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Go

HTML5 ROCKS !

Just as people have discounted many Google "Beta" projects I am sure it will eventually turn out to be a big thing, despite the naysaying.

Adobe is a bunch of people who have missed the flight to their retirement homes in Florida. All their "security" is rooted in the hacks of the 1980s, when they created things like Postscript. It didn't matter when a printer burped on a bad PS file, but it does matter now when a browser is subverted by a malicious Flash ad.

I already removed Acrobat Reader from my PC and use the developer version of Chrome with the Chrome PDF viewer instead. Flash will be the next thing to be axed, as soon as all of youtube can be viewed with HTML5.

All the HTML5 videos on youtube run very well with Chrome, so I expect this to be a great success.

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