Google focuses on Web media at I/O

Calling the Web the most important platform, the company rolls out multitude of initiatives at technical conference

Google officials proposed on Wednesday a standard video codec for the Web and again focused on the HTML5 specification as an advancement for Web-based media.

The company at its Google I/O conference also announced Google App Engine for Business, for business Web application deployment on the Google App Engine cloud platform. A cloud application portability partnership with VMware was revealed as well.

[ See InfoWorld's report on Adobe launching a version of its Dreamweaver HTML authoring tool featuring HTML5 support at the I/O conference. | Google also boosted availability of its Google Wave collaboration and communication tool. ]

"Make no mistake about it," said Vic Gundotra vice president of engineering. "The Web is the most important platform of our generation, and it's become a platform controlled by none of us. It's the only platform that truly belongs to all of us."

As it has been prone to do for the past year, Google pitched HTML5 as a way to move the Web forward, bringing onstage officials from Web properties using HTML5, such as Clicker, which lists Web-based programming. Google also launched a Web video codec initiative, WebM, featuring the open source VP8 video codec format offered under a royalty-free license.

HTML5 has lacked a video codec, and WebM is attempt to provide a standard Web codec, Google's David Glazer, director of engineering, acknowledged. A solution is needed for encoding video for all browsers to understand, he said. "Now, there is a freely available, open source, open-licensed codec to do that," Glazer said.

WebM is being supported by other vendors, including browser builders Mozilla and Opera.

Google also detailed its Google App Engine for Business cloud effort

"Google App Engine for Business is tuning the cloud platform to meet the needs of businesses, [for] building applications to deploy inside their company," Glazer said. Currently available in a preview form, the platform features service-level agreements for business, a business-scale management console for application management, security and support of SQL as a data store. It will function with Google Web Toolkit and other tooling, Glazer said.

The partnership unveiled between Google and VMware, meanwhile, is intended to make it easier for companies to build rich applications and deploy them to the cloud of their choice or on premise. It leverages VMware's SpringSource Tool Suite and Google Web Toolkit for deploying applications to either Google App Engine for Business, a VMware environment or to infrastructure like the Amazon cloud.

"We're collaborating with Google around Spring as a programming model for Google App Engine," said Rod Johnson, inventor of the Spring Framework for Java and general manager of the SpringSource division of VMware. "We believe that it makes it much easier for developers to work with App Engine and we demonstrated integration with our Spring Roo RAD (rapid application development) framework and SpringSource Tool Suite."

The 1.1 version of Spring Roo is now available to support the Google effort, Johnson said.

The Google-VMware alliance is significant, Forrester Principal Analyst Jeffrey Hammond said. "The reason for that is you put Google and VMware together, and I think you've got an end-to-end platform that can stand up and go head-to-head against IBM and Oracle in the Java space," Hammond said. Spring has been used for building back-end applications, while Google Web Toolkit is popular for client-side development, he said.

Google also launched Chrome Web Store, a marketplace for Web applications accessible from the Chrome browser. Developers can sell applications through the store. Chrome Web Store will open later this year.

Google is expected to discuss the latest developments pertaining to the Android mobile platform at the conference on Thursday.

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