Chrome and Firefox showcase video chat via WebRTC

Google Chrome and Mozilla FireFox users can make video calls to each other without the need for third party plug-ins.
Written by Sam Shead, Contributor

Users of Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox web browsers will soon be able to initiate video chats without the irritation of downloading additional plug-ins.

The Chrome and Firefox development teams have showcased the use of WebRTC technologies, which mean video can now be integrated directly into web applications.

WebRTC chat
Users of Chrome and FireFox can now do video calling using WebRTC. Image: Google/Mozilla

WebRTC offers web application developers the ability to write multimedia applications — such as video chat — without requiring plugins, downloads or installations.

According to Mozilla, because this functionality is now baked into the browser, "users can avoid problems with first-time installs and buggy plugins, and developers can deploy their apps much more easily and universally".

This enables developers to create Firefox WebRTC applications that make direct video calls to Chrome WebRTC applications, and vice versa. 

The new capability was outlined in a blog post written by Google Chrome product manager, Serge Lachapelle, and Mozilla Firefox media product lead, Maire Reavy, on the Google Chromium blog on Monday.

"In order to succeed, a web-based communications platform needs to work across browsers," wrote Reavy and Lachapelle in the post.

"Thanks to the work and participation of the World Wide Web Consortium and Internet Engineering Task Force communities in developing the platform, Chrome and Firefox can now communicate by using standard technologies such as the Opus and VP8 codecs for audio and video, DTLS-SRTP for encryption, and ICE for networking."

WebRTC was identified as the best technology because it offers high-quality voice, high-definition (HD) video and low-delay communication to web browsers, according to the post. 

The new feature isn't built into standard Chrome and FireFox browsers yet but users and developers can try it out if they have the desktop Chrome 25 Beta and FireFox Nightly for Desktop.

Developers looking to include the new functionality into Chrome and Firefox applications can find the source code for the AppRTC demo, as well as access to a library that makes writing cross-browser WebRTC apps less difficult, according to the post. 

The blog post includes a YouTube video of a WebRTC conversation between Google Chrome's director of product management, Hugh Finnan, and Mozilla's chief of innovation, Todd Simpson. "We can now allow developers to make applications using just JavaScript and the Google app engine without the need for any plugins or software at all," says Finnan in the recorded video call. 

Mozilla published a similar blog, on Monday, called "Hello Chrome, it's Firefox calling" and explained what Firefox application developers need to do in order to take advantage of the new capabilities.

Editorial standards