A few hours ago, at the Google I/O 2010 conference, Google announced they will be releasing the state-of-the-art video codec VP8 under an open source and royalty-free basis. In fact, the VP8 codec will be combined with the already free and royalty-free Vorbis audio codec and the Matroska container format to build a new standard for video and audio on the web called WebM. Google will add WebM support to the Chrome browser and to Youtube. Immediately after the announcement, support for WebM was also announced by Mozilla for Firefox, and by Opera.
This is big news. Some suspected that open sourcing VP8 was the ultimate goal of Google when they acquired it from On2 Technologies last year. But at the time, the press release did not give any explicit hint about the purpose of the acquisition. I talked about early adoption in the past, but this is definitely a technology that will become the video and audio standard of the web, so adopting it today will certainly make you an early adopter. If Microsoft does not want to be left behind, they have support WebM as well, and I believe they eventually will.