November 12, 2012

Video on Wikipedia Now Possible with HTML5

HTML5 is bringing a lot of advancements to the online world. From app store environments, which may not be so platform-specific in the future, to the increased transition of retro gaming to browser environments, HTML5 has plenty of potential in a market that is pretty much defined by potential. But one unexpected new feature may be coming soon thanks to the new language: video on Wikipedia, according to remarks last week from the Wikimedia Foundation.

According to the remarks, the Wikimedia Foundation is bringing out a new video player that will actually make it easier to add videos to the vast array of articles currently available on Wikipedia. It’s set to use the WebM video format that Google (News Alert) turned out to the open source pasture back in 2010, which should make things a lot simpler and more efficient for users.

This has left a lot of people wondering just what it was that took Wikipedia so long. As it turns out, Wikipedia simply wasn’t ready for the prime time of video until just now. Since Wikipedia does all its own hosting, it needed to shore up the infrastructure of getting videos onto its site. Moreover, until Google open-sourced WebM, Wikipedia was using video under the Ogg Theora encoding system. That severely limited the number of videos that could go up on the site, and when WebM started showing up a bit more often, it began to catch on, and make for not only a codec that Wikipedia could get behind, but also an environment that more people could use in the first place.

Putting video on Wikipedia would probably seem like a no-brainer to most, with the sheer amount of traffic it receives and its focus on information, but actually getting it in play took a lot more than most would have expected. The addition of video to Wikipedia will likely provide a little extra credibility for the service, which has been something of a problem for Wikipedia in the past. While video included with articles may not fix all its problems, it will likely help quite a bit, not only making them more credible but also making them more valuable to users as well.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey


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