Google Chrome 23 has made it to the beta channel, Chrome 23.0.1271.10 being the exact version that holds the honor of transitioning from the dev channel to beta. Chrome 23 comes with plenty of new features, mostly under the hood having to do with web technologies and standards.
Google Chrome is one big step closer to supporting WebRTC entirely with the addition of the PeerConnection API which handles the peer-to-peer communications part of WebRTC.
Chrome already supports getUserMedia API which handles the webcam and mic, put these two together and you have the basis of native, real-time web audio and video communications.
Opera and Mozilla are working on adding support for WebRTC, all three browsers should offer full support for the budding web standard early next year.
What this means is that you'll soon be able to make voice and video calls over the web using nothing more than your browser, no plugins or desktop apps, and that the feature is guaranteed to work in any browser that supports WebRTC, which would be Chrome, Firefox and Opera.
"Today’s Chrome Beta update also includes track support for HTML5 video. Track support provides an easy, standard way to add subtitles, captions, descriptions, chapters, and metadata to videos. It can be used to make videos accessible, split videos into sections, and create new unique video experiences," Google explained.
The feature has the ability to completely transform HTML5 video which, while widely supported by browsers and plenty of websites, still hasn't become a major force.
The ability to do more than just serve a video stream should help HTML5 video take over from Flash sooner than it would have had otherwise.
"Last but not least, we’ve added the MediaSource API. It provides a video playback solution that adapts video quality based on changing computer and network conditions to prevent excessive buffering and startup delays for videos," Google added.
This last feature comes in handy for any HTML5 video stream but also for WebRTC video calls. Network quality fluctuations could be an even bigger factor for video calls.