While there has been speculation about it for weeks, Google has announced today from their I/O conference that they have open-sourced the VP8 video codec. VP8 is the video codec that was developed by On2 Technologies and then Google got its hands on it by acquiring the company a few months back. The older On2 VP3 codec is what went on to become the Theora codec. Google has also announced WebM as a new container format that combines the VP8 video codec with Vorbis audio.
Open-sourcing the VP8 codec (under a BSD license) is a major win for the open-source community and is even something that the Free Software Foundation had publicly been trying to get Google to pursue. WebM support is coming to YouTube and there are 40+ other companies banding together to support the open-source VP8 and WebM container format, including Opera and Mozilla.
The code to VP8 is already out and there are also VP8/WebM patches already available for FFmpeg, other plug-ins, and also an SDK. GStreamer plug-ins are also on the way. The code can be found at WebMProject.org
. WebM/VP8 support in HTML5 can already be found in the nightly builds of Google's Chromium and Mozilla's Firefox as of today. Opera support for this new open-source format is coming very soon.
More details can be found on the project's website