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Google's Impact on Web Video

If you are following any of the online threads on the subject of web-based video, you’ve probably seen the debates on whether or not video will be the next big thing for the web.

I’m Raj Talluri, vice president of product management at Qualcomm CDMA Technologies, and while I don’t know the golden answer to this question, one thing is clear: video is a very crucial element of today’s web experience.

When I think of “web video,” premium studio content or user-generated content comes immediately to mind. Hulu™ and Netflix® are also prime examples of online video services which have become cornerstones in the daily lives of American consumers. And with the media industry finally embracing the power of web video, I’m sure there will be other exciting services which will continue to come online in the future.

In the non-entertainment space, there are also a growing number of web-based video conferencing portals, such as Tokbox™ and ooVoo™, which are creating very rich communication experiences via a mash-up of instant messaging and media sharing — including audio, video and photos.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the video portal phenomenon: YouTube™. We’ve all witnessed how YouTube has transformed into a huge web conglomerate in the last five years. Let me put their growth into perspective. According to YouTube statistics found on sites such as www.viralblog.com:

  • Just one year after its public launch back in 2005, YouTube was receiving around 100 million video views per day.
  • Today, YouTube is receiving north of 2 billion views a day. That’s 20x growth only in 4 years. And it took less than a year to achieve the leap from 1 billion to 2 billion views.

Whether you measure growth by the number of videos uploaded per day, unique visitors per day, or the number of countries with localized YouTube web portals, this phenomenon has definitely brought about a vast change across the web-based video landscape — and in a matter of only a few short years. It’s interesting to me that throughout this period of great change, one thing that appears to have remained relatively consistent is the video codec technology choices used by YouTube.

But now, with today’s news from Google™ I/O, I wonder if the landscape may be on the verge of big change again. Why? Because Google, the company behind YouTube, announced today that they are providing VP8, a new video compression algorithm that is “high-quality, open, and freely implementable.”

Qualcomm is a strong supporter of openly available standards. Whether developed in an organization (the GSM networking standard for example) or through adoption and usage (e.g. the Webkit browser project), standards directly benefit the end-consumer, while in parallel doing the same for the ecosystem.

This is why we are excited that the company behind the biggest online video portal is enabling the VP8 initiative. We thus continue to collaborate with On2/Google’s engineering teams to support VP8 codec on our mobile platforms and deliver a rich video experience on Qualcomm-powered mobile devices.

Stay tuned, as we will continue to analyze and cover some of the industry trends influenced by the arrival of VP8 video codec.

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