Google Building Open-Source Video Chatting Software into Chrome

By Beecher Tuttle June 21, 2011

In a clear challenge to Web calling clients like Skype, Google is building its open-source voice and video chatting software into its Chrome browser, according to CNET.

Google acquired the open-source technology, known as WebRTC, last year when it bought out VoIP software provider Global IP Solutions. The search engine giant is now looking to hand the royalty-free software over to developers for browser-based applications.

Currently, real-time audio and video applications require the use of proprietary plug-ins or client downloads. When WebRTC is browser-ready, developers will be able to create audio and video chatting clients using simple HTML and JavaScript APIs, Google Engineering Director Rian Liebenberg noted in a blog post.

“We are working hard to provide full RTC support in Chrome all the way from WebKit down to the native audio and video parts,” Henrik Andreasson, a Google programmer from GIPS, said in mailing list sent out on Friday.

“When we are done, any web developer shall be able to create RTC applications, like the Google Talk client in Gmail, without using any plugins but only WebRTC components that runs in the sandbox,” he added.

Liebenberg said that Google will also be looking to provide support for other competing browsers, such as Mozilla and Opera. In addition, the company is collaborating with standards communities and W3C working groups to better “define and implement a set of standards for real time communications.”

In essence, Google will be giving developers the ability to build competing services to Skype using just a Web browser. CNET's Stephen Shankland speculates that Google's motivation is to have consumers rely more heavily on the Web, where they will use Google's search engine and associated apps. The project should also make it easier for Gmail users to access video conferencing technologies from within the app.

In related news, the Federal Trade Commission on Friday approved Microsoft's $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype. The software giant's largest-ever acquisition now needs only a signature from the Department of Justice before it is officially cleared.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.


Beecher Tuttle is a TechZone360 contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

TechZone360 Contributor

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