Tuesday, September 01, 2009

"Open Video" -- The Next Great Wave In Web Innovation?

Bring it on!
...a growing number of technologists and video artists want to see Web video adopt the kind of open standards that fueled the growth of the Web at large. HTML, the markup language that describes Web pages; JavaScript, the programming language that allows forms, graphics, and various special effects to be added to them; JPEG, the standard for images--all these building blocks of the Web can be used by anyone, without paying fees or asking permission. This openness was indispensable to the creation and then the explosion of blogs, search engines, social networks, and more.

A similar transformation of video would not just allow trouble-free playback of any video you might encounter. It would also mean that any innovation, such as a new way to search, would apply to all videos, allowing new technologies to spread more rapidly. And it would make it far easier to mix videos together and create Web links to specific moments in different videos, just as if they were words and sentences plucked from disparate online text sources: imagine linking part of a politician's speech to a contradictory utterance years earlier. "In 1993 people thought AOL's newsrooms were mind-blowing, because that's all they were exposed to," says Dean Jansen, outreach director of the Participatory Culture Foundation, a nonprofit group that is developing an open-source video player called Miro. "Now they can write their own blogs and find and read hundreds of thousands of news sources and blogs, from all over the Internet. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that this is the scale of change that would become possible if video [technologies] were totally free online, like text and images."

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