YouTube’s Conversion To WebM: Why It Matters To Social Mobile

How many of your friends have the same smartphone that you use? If smartphones become our primary computers and the only way one accesses social networks, then to be able to share things like video with our friends it is important that video can play on our friend’s smartphones, regardless of the phone’s operating system. Today this is not the case because Flash, which accounts for the majority of the video on the Internet today, is not supported by the iPhone. WebM is an open media format that hopefully will be supported by all smartphone platforms in the future, making it easier to share video.

Google, who owns YouTube, is a major supporter of the WebM project. Today Google announced that they will be converting all video uploads to YouTube into WebM going forward, and that a third of the current YouTube library already is in WebM. Because YouTube is a major source for sharing video on the Internet, that means those videos will be playable in any browser that supports HTML5.

What makes WebM appealing for smartphones is that it doesn’t require plugins to run video, like Flash. You do need a browser that supports HTML5, and because smartphones are currently optimized to play the H.264 video standard, future smartphones will need hardware acceleration for the best playback of WebM video. However, the promise of WebM is the possibility of removing the gaps you see today when browsing web sites that have Flash using smartphones and tablets that do not support Flash.