The Skype killer-App might be the browser with this new web standard

Skype

For years now, Skype the VoIP application has become the default application when it comes to making calls over the internet. The application now boosts over 600 million users with over 45 million concurrent online users and was bought by Microsoft in 2011 for $8.5 billion. Personally I love Skype. It’s high quality voice calls coupled with video calls and Instant Messaging and its ability to be used over corporate firewalls has quickly made it an indispensable tool for business and social communication for me.

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However, now a technology that enables browser-to-browser communication called WebRTC spearheaded by Google and Mozilla is about to change the way that online users communicate. I first wrote about WebRTC last year where it was still in infancy stage. Last week according to the Chromium blog, the technology has made another giant leap where  Chrome and Firefox can “talk” to each other for the first time. The goal of this technology is to offer developers rich, secure communications, integrated directly into their web applications. According to the post;

In order to succeed, a web-based communications platform needs to work across browsers. 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.

To try this yourself, you’ll need desktop Chrome 25 Beta and Firefox Nightly for Desktop

The implication of this technology is that users will no longer need stand-alone applications like Skype, Vonage or Viber or even traditional Telecoms to make voice calls as long they have browsers that are compatible with the standard.

The browser continues to dominate the the platform upon which applications are served to users — and that’s not about to change.The most logical step is now making it a one-stop information & communication hub for users and that’s what WebRTC is about to do.

 

  • this may be the future but its not yet ready for prime time. Skype with 50 million users (the size of a typical country), replacing MSN Messenger and Facebook integration (via Microsoft) make it a very formidable partner. I believe Microsoft is going to further integrate Skype with its Communication Services applications bringing it deeper into the enterprise.

    Not forgetting browser apps may be good but video and voice require QOS which may only be achievable by native apps for the time being

    • That’s right Stephen. It will take some time indeed before the technology goes mainstream. Right now it’s only the latest versions of Chrome and Firefox that can talk to each other, but what about Internet explorer owned by Microsoft which also owns Skype, then Safari owned by Apple which also has Facetime. Definitely as you’ve said each of these corporations have their own interests and bringing everyone on the same table seeing eye-to-eye in a certain direction is going to be a long shot.

      However, as the browser continues to dominate across all devices and operating systems, eventually this move will be much feasible.