It seems like the search engine major is on the move, as it officially starts to roll out 720P HD video for its very own Google+ Hangouts, which is a very popular (almost first of its kind) video chat service.
On this Wednesday Google announced that it is now bringing the HD quality video roll out procedure, and it will start with Hangouts on Air. It will work as the live-streamed version of the Hangouts service in order to make group chat facility available for viewing by anybody on YouTube, Google+ or even embedded websites of the users.
The Silicon Valley based company added that everybody else too will be able to access this awesome feature over the next couple of weeks or so. It is worth mentioning that to offer 720P HD video chat service the company is using VP8, which is an open video codec, to replace the existing H.264. This implies that Google has already made all the preparations to perform this much-awaited move.
Mr. Chee Chew, who is the Google Vice President of Engineering, confirmed this news of switching video codec in a recent interview with GigaOm. The interview was published on this Wednesday only, and it clearly stated that the company has opted to make a transition from the H.264 video codec to more advanced VP8. It is a royalty free alternative, and it was first announced in the late 2010. GigaOm added that the VP8 is well-capable of handling 720p HD video on Hangouts.
It seems quite obvious that the higher and better video quality requires a full-HD capable web cam, as well as more bandwidth (faster internet) and processing power than a regular video chat. Now Google is all set to turn on the HD feature for its Google+ users, and it is well expected to receive good feedback from the end users.
We shouldn’t forget that in December 2012 Google officially unveiled a low-bandwidth version of Hangouts, which requires bandwidth of as low as just 150 kbps to get started. This means from now on the Hangouts will feature both the two versions- HD and low-bandwidth.
The interview mentioned that the company is planning to eventually perform a transition to the WebRTC standard to provide plugin-free video conferencing option. However, to upgrade to that quality is not a matter of joke and for that to happen the overall standard still has to mature. It is also true that through WebRTC the company will not be able to apply several important effects, which it is currently offering in Google+ Hangouts.
Many tech experts believe that the WebRTC is surely going to be the next major update in online communication standards. It has all the potentialities to offer real-time audio and video without taking helps from any additional plugins whatsoever. Chew has indeed given a small hint that it’ll definitely come to Hangouts in the next few months. Currently the WebRTC standard can’t offer developers full control over the bandwidth usage and a few other things too.
Considering that Google decides to roll out VP8 720p HD for Hangouts as of now, and start working on the process of enabling WebRTC for the users in the upcoming months.