Firefox Hello: voice and video calls without account requirement
We live in a connected world and each one of us has many options when it comes to connecting others. While it is still possible to use a phone for that, other types of communication such as messaging apps or video chat have become more popular and are widely used by millions each day.
The majority of these solutions have in common that you need an account to use them. This is true for services like Skype or Google Hangouts for example, WhatsApp or the Facebook application.
Firefox Hello attempts to change that. What makes it interesting is the fact that you don't need an account to use it, and that recipients don't need to use Firefox but can use any WebRTC compatible web browser.
The "start a conversation" has been part of Nightly and Aurora versions of Firefox for some time now and Mozilla plans to move the feature to the Beta channel as well in the coming weeks.
You find it in the browser's customization menu. To enable it simply click on the Hamburger menu icon at the top and select Customize from the options. Locate the "start a conversation" bubble and drag & drop it to a toolbar or the menu itself so that it becomes accessible.
A click on the bubble displays the main menu. There you find a share link that can be used by others to call you. This link is randomized whenever you access the Hello Firefox tool but seems to work for some time thereafter even if you open the menu again to create a new link.
You can copy the link to the clipboard or open the default email program or service of the system to send an email instead to recipients.
Calls are displayed as notifications in Firefox. They work from any WebRTC compatible web browser including Google Chrome or Opera.
It is furthermore possible to sign in or create an account, but that is no requirement. Firefox Hello supports voice and video communication and it is up to each conversation member to select the desired form of communication.
You can create an account if you want. Doing so can be beneficial as contacts are displayed in the browser then making it easier to call them directly without having to send a new conversation link each time to do so.
The only other option available at the time of writing is to set your status to do not disturb to avoid getting called when the status is active.
Firefox Hello works surprisingly well and while there is still some work to be done, there is no chat option for instance as far as I can tell, it is without doubt a very convenient option to voice or video call others without having to worry about program or account requirements.
Firefox is already the slowest browser. I imagine this will make it even slower. Even the optimised Cyberfox 64-bit that is more than twice as fast lags too much on Windows 8.1. I don’t believe this feature will work very well in those browsers.
yes, Firefox is some slow in running but it will boost by using multi-core cpu feature in version 36. and also will release 64-bit version in v37. i think it will be faster.
why would that make the browsing slower?
For the same reason that add-on may make browser slower. Note that he didn’t say slower “browsing”.
What do you mean by “slowest”? I find Firefox to be pretty fast, both when it comes to browsing itself and when it comes to the interface…
Except starting up, right? Sure, if you have 1 – 5 tabs open it starts up quick, but if you’re a power user (like me) with over 100 tabs, it slows down to the point where it takes over 1 minute to open Firefox (I’m using Cyberfox x64 variant, still slows down)
I sure hope the multi-process update fixes this, otherwise Firefox is doomed to die a ‘slow’ death (see what I did there?)
This is by far the best feature I have seen coming up in Firefox so far.
Any info on the exact about:config variable to change to enable this?
Yes, set loop.throttled to false.
sweet thanks! This is missing from every article I read about it..
I always mention things like this in my Firefox release round-up posts: https://www.ghacks.net/2014/12/01/firefox-34-find-out-what-is-new/
Well there is no bubble icon in Customize options.. What now..
Either wait until it is added to your version of Firefox or set loop.throttled in about:config to false.