Earlier today, there was a lot of hubbub over Facebook supposedly enabling HTML5 video playback on their website. This would, of course, allow Facebook videos to be played natively within the browser on the iPad and iPhone. More significantly, it would be another big blow to Adobe’s Flash format. The only problem? These Facebook videos aren’t using HTML5 at all.
Yes, videos on Facebook do play when clicked on from the iPad or iPhone, but only ReadWriteWeb noted that this was through an h264 player (which both the iPhone and iPad have always supported), and not actually any sort of HTML5 implimentation. We’ve since confirmed this with Facebook which says, “You are correct, this is not html 5. All new videos are encoded in h264 format, so we’re playing videos natively in the iPad since it supports h264-encoded videos.”
Okay, but more importantly, are there plans for Facebook to support HTML5 just as Apple, Google, and many others have started to? “We’ll consider it for the future,” a Facebook representative tells us.
I also took the opportunity to ask about the status of a native Facebook iPad app. Facebook’s iPhone app is easily one of the best applications in the App Store, but since it’s not universal (meaning there are versions for both the iPhone and iPad), it, like all other iPhone apps, looks a bit junky when running scaled to twice its size on the iPad. “We don’t have anything to announce re: your iPad question,” is all I was told.
Facebook was one of the first applications ready to go alongside the initial launch of the App Store in 2008, but it has been missing in action in the iPad App Store. And it’s a problem because a lot of people are searching for it, only to find cheap imitations. You might recall that the creator of the Facebook iPhone app, Joe Hewitt, stopped development on it over his distaste for some of the App Store policies. Facebook brought in a team to replace him, but so far, nada.