The video codec H.264 is in the news again. Earlier when HTML5 video was the new rage, Firefox and Opera decided to not to support H.264 because of it is a proprietary codec. Instead they decided to support the open Ogg Theora. Safari and Chrome choosed to support H.264 because Theora's performance was deemed unsatisfactory. Chrome supported Theora as well.
Since that time, much water has flown under the bridge. Google has also released another open source codec WebM which does not carry all the extra baggages of the proprietary H.264 while still maintaining very good performance.
Since WebM was open, Google noted that it enjoyed rapid performance improvements and adoption by both browser and hardware vendors.
And because the performance of these open codecs are now satisfactory to Google, they have decided to drop H.264 support in Chrome in future versions. The change will not happen overnight, it will take a couple of months but they are announcing it now to give video publishers a heads up.
With Chrome supporting solely open codecs, Google expects this to speed up the development and innovations in these open codecs even further.
[source: The Chromium Blog]