Two Questions on 6 Weeks Release Cycle & H.264 Video

chrome news  Two Questions on 6 Weeks Release Cycle & H.264 VideoWe had some conversations in the green and rich comments field for couple of blog posts this week. Two thoughts emerged from those comments were thought provoking. So, here is another post to discuss those two points.

Does Chrome Have Enough Market Share To Make Hard Decisions ?

On the blog post Google Chrome to Drop Support for H.264 Video acupunc asks the following question.

The problem is when novice users try and use Chrome and can’t play a video, back to IE they will go. Chrome doesn’t have a big enough market share to dictate anything at this time. YouTube on the other hand does.

First of all, thank you for this very intelligent comment ! I was imaging myself as a new user to Chrome and finding it hard to play videos on many websites. I will sure go back to another browser that supports these.

chrome news  Two Questions on 6 Weeks Release Cycle & H.264 Video

Google may be trying to push innovation to another direction with new technologies and leaving outdated plugins etc. But at the cost of new users ? Making usability of the browser take a cut ? If there is a percentage of websites using this video format and Chrome discontinues it before it can convince everyone to their new WebM video format ?

Does Chrome has enough market share to pull customers, websites and companies towards their direction and make choices for them ? Are we there yet ?

How Many Weeks Is Too Many For An Update

The second topic emerged from the discussions around the 6 weeks release schedule of  Google Chrome. We are getting updates regularly and frequently with this new plan. This is commendable in the world of browsers which update once a year or so.

However, maldar thinks that this brings new features as early as possible to users, and we don’t have to wait for one year for a next version with new features. Which is, really true.

But Emmet Brown has a different thought. “Since the numbers are really arbitrary, it really doesn’t matter. Although, I do like seeing a higher numbered version every six weeks. Even if it doesn’t actually mean anything, I still like the way Chrome 10 sounds.”

Sometimes it does sound true … right ? Have you ever felt disappointed after a update to Chrome, because there was nothing much for you in it, even though they had a few features added with that release ?

I am not the right person to answer this question because from the very early days of Chrome, I moved to Development build and has a different pace of getting updates.  So, what do you think, if you are using Chrome stable version ?

Are you with maldar and believe that you need faster releases to get new updates as fast as possible or do you like the old 3 months cycle where you had major changes with every update, like Joshua Santos ?


  1. I made a useful comment. . . who would have thunk ;)

    On the WebM front, another article I read pointed out that Flash handles most of the h.264 videos on the web and that may be a reason Google is so friendly with Flash these days. This may help the transition to WebM as flash moves form h.264 to WebM also.

    Chrome updates. . .
    The version number is irrelevant, even Google admits that. However, it is great using a browser you know is never more than six weeks old. Heck, MS has bugs in IE8 that they will not fix until the release of IE9. Are you kidding me? Who wants to use a browser like that and who want to develop for a browser like that.

    Since browsers are now the main source of virus and malware attacks on computers I think it’s very important for a browser to have fast release cycles, even if the new release is just a bug fix.

  2. 1.) firefox only supports webm (but windows plugin for firefox lets u play h.264; IE supports both; chrome will support only webm (yay open source )
    and i think most things have a fallback to flash if HTML5 is not supporter (such as h.264 )
    so basically chrome isn’t the only one…others are backing up Google =D
    2.) i think they should slow down the version and have mini updates like 10.0 -> 10.2 -> 10.6 … cause think about it who wants to say “update to chrome version 24″ ? eh? make everyone happy? and the auto update makes it easy =D. like my idea? yes no…yes…yes….maybe? ;)

  3. I think dropping h.264 was the right decision at the right time (when HTML5 video isn’t really that common yet).
    It’s not a cost to new users and it doesn’t make the usability of the browser take a cut.
    There isn’t much H.264 video on the web. Internet Explorer 8 and below don’t even support HTML5 video yet (9 is still in beta). Firefox, right behind IE in browser marketshare, supports only WebM and OGG Theora, and doesn’t support H.264. And, which is right behind Firefox in marketshare, won’t support H.264. So, right now, the dominating browsers don’t support H.264, so, really, there is no real disadvantage to users. (Compare this to Apple’s blocking of Flash on iOS at a time when Flash is everywhere.)

    The change shouldn’t come as a surprise: Google has long been a long-time anti-patent, open-source supporter (e.g., it joined the Open Invention Network in 2007).

    As for updates, it’s only good that Chrome is updated frequently — issues get fixed more quickly and features get out when they’re ready and don’t get hurried to meet a deadline.

    • and IE 9 is only for win 7…so xp/vista users will have to switch browsers (chrome =D) for HTML5 or live with Flash…

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