HTML5 At Google I/O

Adobe, Mozilla, Opera and a variety of other industry players kicked off the Google I/O conference Wednesday pledging their devotion to HTML5, and support for the royalty-free VP8 codec and WebM format available free to anyone. The video format, billed as a technology that will revolutionize online video, got a nod from the magazine Sports Illustrated.

HTML5 gives advertisers multiplatform support. The campaign will play back on an iPad, iPhone, Android phone, desktop and Internet-enabled televisions. It also enables developers to create online games. Agencies won’t need to develop 19 formats to support just as many campaigns. If the format takes off and is widely adopted, it will enable campaigns to easily work across devices.

Some devices do not support Flash or Silverlight today. Apple, however, does support a version of the new codec called H264. Today, HTML5 on YouTube is a TestTube experiment. It does not support ads at this time.

What’s in it for publishers? Evidently, support for paid-content subscription models online. Terry McDonell, editor at Sports Illustrated, demonstrated a magazine application in development that featured video running within a frame of text. It looks similar to a magazine with rich video running inside the page where you might see a still photo. Adding an addendum to the famous Field of Dreams quote “if you build it they will come,” McDonell says the online publication must be built open, well-edited, searchable, social, and available everywhere.

This alternative to Flash should cut development costs to create and manage campaigns. The format will provide instantaneous playback and low power consumption and become much more efficient.

HTML5 is important for two reasons, new elements like video and canvas allow native support for richer experiences, whereas Flash, Silverlight, or other plug-ins might be necessary. Add geo-location to that and you can see how it changes what a Web site can deliver, especially for mobile applications.

Second, the elements are more semantic in nature, such as article, section, and address. These help platforms, browsers and other technologies understand exactly what content exists on a page and therefore will help create systems that use the content in other more useful ways, O’Brien says.

Proper site development can help maintain and increase organic search performance and optimization of digital assets. Overall, HTML5 will improve search engines’ understanding of the structure of a Web site and provide increased accessibility.

HTML5 will allow content to be organized and tagged to inform search engine crawlers of the relationship within a Web page by using nav, article, section and footer tags among many others. HTML5 tags such as “header” will allow for the categorization of content and links, no longer restricting developers to the existing h1 through h6 tags. Alternate content enhancements will eliminate the need for SWFObject or search engine-friendly alternate content.

These improvements provide increased optimization techniques for rich media, videos and audio tracks, enabling the inclusion of information that describes those elements. Tags such as “details” provide the ability to make product information accessible to a search engines without it being displayed to users.-MediaPost


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