Google has published two ambitious initiatives to shape the video ecosystem. The first project attempts to tackle the intellectual property issues with the most dominant commercial video encoding technology. The other effort is just as demanding. The search giant is trying to reinvent how we consume video entertainment in collaboration with a leading home electronics manufacturer.
The two separate projects do have different goals, but it seems that Google is taking video seriously and is attempting to force the market to function more efficiently. It seems that with their superior search technology the company will benefit if the market is opened up. Google has this shot at making a difference since they have acquired significant IPR and because they have the user masses.
The first project’s background is that Google earlier acquired On2, a codec house, that released several quality codecs for the Adobe Flash platform. While it would be the traditional monopolistic move the underlying goal may not really be to displace h.264 with a new codec (WebM) . Rather the hardware acceleration and effectiveness disabled codec is a pawn that is given in order to force MPEG LA to keep the constraints acceptable. So in effect WebM does not need to become the dominant medium in order to reach its goals.
The GoogleTV project with Sony is also an interesting venture. Home electronics giants have all dabbled with their own incompatible versions of interactive television. This far no single player has been able to make a decisive move. Some standards (eg. DLNA) have gained some traction, but It seems that there have not been any winners. By leveraging ubiquitous web technology in the form of HTML5 the partnership maybe onto something.
Again while Google may be trying to gain control of the video services market it is likely they already have much wider encompassing strategic goals. Broadband video services is just another platform that will improve usefulness of their bread and butter services. Immediately search, micropayments and things like google calendar integration come to mind.