Is Chrome turning into Google’s IE6?
Anyone who has been involved in the technology field, especially web technologies, will remember the horror of Internet Explorer 5; and Microsoft considering itself the arbiter of what web standards should be. It is only today that we are really seeing any serious decline in the use of IE6 but some would say that the price we have paid during those intervening years was too high.
Much credit has to go to both Firefox and Chrome, as well as the upcoming release of IE9, in finally being able to put a stake through the heart of the beast that was IE6. However those rescuers from a fractured web are themselves having problems.
Firefox has in the opinion of many web developer’s eyes, and regular users, become bloated and seeming to be travelling down it’s own path of standards (just ask Paul O’Flaherty, my partner on the Daily Brief show). In many cases it is Firefox that is losing marketshare to Google’s Chrome browser, rather than Internet Explorer losing ground.
But now we have Google stating that it is going to drop support in their browser for one of the core web video technologies, the H.264 video codec, in favor of trying to promote a more “Open Web” video codec that being it’s own WebM video codec.
It is a codec that Google themselves owns but have made open but stills develop internally; and as many people have pointed out, isn’t as widely adopted as Google would like everyone to believe.
I’m not going to pretend that I know the ins and outs of all the different codec and who supports what as there are smarter people than me already doing that. What I do worry about though is Google has decided that because of it’s marketshare on the web that they can dictate, or heavily influence, what the web standards are going to look like going forward.
We’ve been down that road before and it has taken the better part of ten years for the Web to recover from one company’s heavy-handedness, do we really need to go through that all again?
Do we really need another IE6?