Google's acquisition of On2 Technologies prompts punditry and blog posts from all over the Web. Some say buying the video compression specialist was a YouTube play. Others believe Google will leverage the On2 codecs to fortify its position in our digital living rooms. One man believes On2 will be part of a gaming console Google is developing. What do you think Google will do with On2?
with questions about Google's Aug. 5 purchase, a $106.5 million stock bid for video compression software maker On2 Technologies.
The leading question seems to be: Wherefore On2?
Google owns YouTube, the world's leading video-sharing Website, which
streams 1.5 billion video clips
On2 makes On2 Video, a line of codecs that could compress video piped
through YouTube for easier transmission over the Internet and cellular
networks. On2 also makes video encoders that output Adobe Flash, Sun's JavaFX
video and H.264 video for Apple's iPhone and iPod. On2 counts Amazon.com,
Disney and Microsoft as encoding customers.
Finally, On2 designs embedded video codecs for chip sets and devices such as
mobile phones, mobile Internet devices, set-top boxes, games decks, digital TVs
and DVD players. Nokia, Samsung and Sony use
these technologies. ZDNet
breaks down the On2 assets,
showing that they are woven intricately across
a broad swath of digital devices and applications from various vendors working
or dabbling in video.
Why On2 indeed? There are many
but a few will likely suffice.
Google may want video compression technology to support its YouTube
video-sharing site, which is approaching profitability, according to Google
executives. Some believe Google wants to leverage On2's assets for its Chrome
browser, its Android mobile operating system and, eventually, its Chrome
After all, companies that want to play in video have developed their own proprietary
Adobe has the market-leading Flash, Apple has QuickTime
and Microsoft has Silverlight in the hopper. Google surely desires to include
native video capabilities in Android, Chrome and Chrome OS without relying on
Perhaps Google will take the On2 video codecs and open-source them,
giving corporate customers a lower cost barrier
to entry than the proprietary options. It would certainly fit with Google's
modus operandi of open-sourcing just about any technology that isn't search- or