YouTube Testing HTML5

Google has expanded its adoption of HTML5 by releasing a beta version of YouTube using the new yet unapproved code (Feb 2010). However, the only browsers that support the code are Google’s Chrome, IE with a Chrome frame, and you guessed it if you read our earlier article, Apple’s Safari.

The opt-in page states that these are the only browsers that support both the HTML5 video tag and the h.264 video codec. In previous posts, the h.264 codec (form of video compression) was described as an Apple codec that competed with the Flash video compressor. Before the iPhone was released, Apple worked with YouTube to convert most of their Flash videos to h.264 so the iPhone could display the videos. Today, I am sure the YouTube HTML5 beta is trying to achieve the same thing but this time for the sake of the iPad.

So, where is Adobe’s voice in all of this? Only a few weeks ago, they released an invitation to a webcast of the announcement of Creative Suite 5 (CS5). That same day, Steve Jobs and Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt were seen in a very public area having a coffee on the sidewalk of a cafe in Palo Alto. Bystanders took photos and reported hearing Jobs say “They’re going to see it all eventually so who cares how they get it.” Many suspect this was a PR stunt, but no one seems to know what for. Web content was more than likely the topic of conversation, but was it about HTML5 adoption?

In the meantime, Apple is presenting a gallery of iPad friendly websites that have Flash content but use HTML5 instead of the Flash plugin to display it. Even though this was always an issue on the iPhone, it is only now that the public is really complaining about it. Designers and programmers are catching on and major tech publishers like O’Reilly are getting ready to release instructional books on the subject (June 2010).

The iPad is giving us a push to move forward with HTML5, but will Adobe respond? Designers need the tools to keep up with the challenges tech and new devices present. This includes enabling designers, Flash developers, and web developers to work together using similar tools and languages to create an experience that all end users can connect with. It isn’t Flash or the iPad that is the problem, it is the issue of downloading plugins. HTML5 will solve this, but designers need the ‘go’ signal. Hopefully, that will happen next Monday.


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