WebRTC is coming along nicely, now working between browsers
WebRTC has been in the works for a while now, but if you had any doubts about progress, Google and Mozilla have now demonstrated the first video chat conversation between Chrome and Firefox.Both browsers support WebRTC at various stages, though you need the latest releases to get them to work together.
"Mozilla is excited to announce that we’ve achieved a major milestone in WebRTC development: WebRTC RTCPeerConnection interoperability between Firefox and Chrome," Mozilla announced.
"This effort was made possible because of the close collaboration between the open Web community and engineers from both Mozilla and Google," it added.
WebRTC is a term used to describe a number of technologies that make video calls between browsers possible.
The big two components are the getUserMedia API, which handles access to the webcam and microphone, and PeerConnection which handles the audio and video channels between browsers.
A third component is also in the works, DataChannels, which will allow browsers to send and receive any data, not just audio and video, useful for text chat, file transfers, photo sharing and so on.
Only the two are needed for a video call though and that's what Mozilla and Google demoed with a conversation between Mozilla’s Chief Innovation Officer, Todd Simpson, and Google’s Director of Product Management, Hugh Finnan.
"Thanks to the work and participation of the W3C and IETF 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," Google further listed some of the technologies involved.
This first conversation is a milestone since it establishes WebRTC as an interoperable standard, not just experimental technology. It's still going to be a while before you can do a video call from Chrome just as easily as you can with Skype, but it's getting there.
For now, you can try it out over at the WebRTC demo site as long as you're running a recent version of Chrome or Firefox. Chrome 25 beta was used in the first call and Firefox 21 Nightly.