Google is dropping support for the H.264 video standard from its Chrome browser, according to The Chromium Blog, backing WebM, a standard backed by Google.

What this means is that users of Chrome will automatically be able to play videos coded with the WebM or Theora standards, but will need a plug-in to play anything in H.264, which is a much more widely used standard.

One difference between the two is that H.264 is decoded by hardware in many devices, such as tablets and mobile phones.

According to the post by Mike Jazayeri, product manager at Google, the company is directing its resources towards completely open codec technologies.

Web site publishers would have to add video that is supported by WebM and Theora. It is not clear that they will do so en masse. Currently most video on the internet is either in Flash (which Chrome will still support) and H.264.

The Chromium Blog says the change will occur over the next few months.