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Google Announces Chrome M48 with VP9 Codec Support

December 28, 2015

Google made an anticipated announcement surrounding the popular Chrome Browser. The latest version to be released is Chrome M48. The update supports the new VP9 Codec across all platforms. This codec allows video calls that will deliver high quality video, while simultaneously lowering the bitrate to a 40 percent lower bitrate when compared to H.264 and VP8 technologies. The bottom line is that HD video can now be delivered at standard definition bitrates and even higher quality video can be transmitted at existing bitrates.

The VP9 implementation will be optional, with VP8 codec still the default in Chrome. Applications can flip the switch, however, by promoting VP9 to be the first codec noted in the Chrome offer message. Google even set up a special page for the public to test out the new codec on:

To show off what VP9 can do, we've updated our official sample application, AppRTC, to prefer VP9 - you can try it out with Chrome M48 at https://appr.tc (hit the 'i' key to show the codec in use).

Google also committed to improving VP9 in upcoming Chrome releases. Starting with Chrome M48, the company is also committing to maintaining backward compatibility while incorporating a proposed standard RTP packetization for VP9. The VP9 standard has been developed by both Google and Vidyo after years of joint project work. The advantages in bitrate come with a slight 15 percent cost in CPU, but the speed advantages that come with the new standard have much more value. 

The browser is also slated to gradually enable a new WebRTC policy that integrates how IP address are collected. The focus of this new policy is in security, as it will only allow the enumeration of all network interfaces to applications that have microphone and camera permissions. This is a critical point for privacy and security applications in that if a user is connected through a Virtual Private Network (VPN) and internet traffic is routed through this VPN, WebRTC will only have the ability to gather IP addresses using the VPN connection and it will not gather the IP addresses of Internet Service Providers.

Edited by Kyle Piscioniere

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