Image via CrunchBaseHTML5 and the video tag mean that the next generation of browsers won't need a plug-in to play video. Firefox 3.5 already has this, and Mozilla has put its weight behind OGG Theora, even though the HTML5 spec doesn't specify right now what containers or codecs should be used. H.264 originally beat out Theora in tests, but recent advancements in Theora, partially funded by Mozilla, have reversed the outcome.
Google's not blind to these events, and has coded up a Flash-free version of YouTube, using the video tag instead.
"This is an experiment," Google vice president of engineering Vic Gundotra told developers. "We are not announcing today that YouTube will be built this way. But we wanted to show it to you to get your creative juices flowing."
Google is wholeheartedly supporting HTML5 and ECMAScript as the way forward and is trying to reduce the need for proprietary plug-ins, first by using HTML and ECMAScript for extensions, then by creating an HTML5 version of GMail for phones, and finally with this new, Flash-free YouTube.