How Google will kill Internet Explorer


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Step 1. It is rumoured Google will soon open-source the VP8 video compression format by On2 Technologies, whom they bought earlier this year. They'll do so in the hope that it would become the default video format on the web, over Theora (open but technically inferior) and H.264 (superior but patent-encumbered). If they did so, Mozilla, Webkit and Opera browsers, with their fierce competition and fast update cycles, will likely hedge their bets and quickly add support for VP8, in addition to the formats they already support.

Step 2. Google will transcode all videos on YouTube to VP8 format, and serve this as the default to capable browsers. Converting such a vast amount of video is a monumental task, but Google has the resources to do it.

Step 3. Once the release versions of all the major non-IE browsers are capable of displaying VP8 HTML5 video without a hitch, Google will make its final move. Notices will appear on YouTube that they will soon turn off support for Flash, and serve all video as VP8 only. If you use Firefox, Safari or Chrome, you won't notice a difference. But if you're using Internet Explorer, not to worry: all you need to do is install a simple plugin: Chrome Frame.

Chrome Frame effectively turns Internet Explorer into Chrome. It still looks like you're running IE, but the rendering engine has been replaced by Google's. (Only on request, though: web authors have to explicitly ask for Chrome Frame to be used if available. The rest of the time IE remains unchanged.)


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