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Impressive: Video and voice calls in your browser without a plugin in sight (thenextweb.com)
66 points by johntdyer on Mar 1, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 17 comments

Neat, but is it really that impressive? Instead of using an external plugin, the plugin is rolled into the browser. There was no reason to expect that would be difficult. The real difficulty will be getting different browsers to provide reasonably compatible implementations.

WebRTC is a w3c standard - it's part of HTML 5 - so getting browsers to support it isn't going to be as big of a problem as you suspect.

Browsers today (even with HTML5) are mainly consumers of media. There's great ways to get audio and video to a browser, but no capabilities for getting access to a user's microphone and camera and no way of sending media from a browser to elsewhere. WebRTC fixes that.

A phone call has two halves, there's the signaling (where does this call go to, is it still active, did the other party hang up, etc) and the audio (the "media" in telecom parlance). What Phono is doing in this demo is connecting the media and the signaling from an early WebRTC implementation to the public phone network. Using the audio capture from the browser and letting you make and receive real phone calls with it.

Nicely put.

While I agree that the real difficulty is getting consistent adoption, such first steps are extremely important. If no one takes these steps, such technologies as WebRTC will never get proper adoption. Features with such technologies will not be revenue drives, but you get media exposure and also can give yourself a pat on the back for doing the right thing.

For basic video calling you don't need phono, WebRTC can do that all on its own.

The other stuff is impressive.

Well, then you need to implement your own discovery and routing mechanism. It might just be a web page a la ChatRoulette, but something is needed.

Phono uses XMPP for this (IIRC), which opens the window for really cool integration with existing endpoints.

More info on the Phono WebRTC plugin can be found here http://phono.com/webrtc

An article that talks about two companies that I like a lot so far. On the other hand - couldn't vox.io plug WebRTC in whenever it is supported and therefor make the flash requirement optional in the future?

Interesting - I hope it'll land in a FF beta for me.

And Microsoft paid all that money for Skype....

I believe Microsoft (and eBay for that matter) vastly overpaid for Skype, but at the same time Skype does way more more than this does. Comparing the two things at all is disingenuous.

Not really, I've used Skype since it launched and I love it. But like Word my guess is that most people probably only use 20% of its functionality, voice/video calling and chat. If this does that easily and for free, it will very quickly eat into Skypes market. I for one would switch.

Google Voice w/Gmail integration and Google+ Hangouts have been doing all this stuff for free for a while now and I'm a huge fan of both but I don't think either has substantially changed Skype's market.


Very nice effort. Hopefully this will help start a shake up of the entrenched videoconferencing industry and all their expensive and cumbersome technology...


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