Firefox 18: Mozilla plans WebRTC support

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 15, 2012

If you are spending most of the time on your computer using a web browser like Firefox, you may in the future spend even more time using the browser, and nothing but the browser. The idea behind Web Real-Time Communications (WebRTC) is to add options to the web browser to share and stream audio, video and data. How that is different from today's options to do so? WebRTC requires no plugins, extensions or third party software to provide you with those functionalities.

Think of video calls, webcam chat, life streams and all that good stuff right from your browser. The data that you stream can come from local devices such as microphones, webcams or video cameras, or from pre-recorded sources. WebRTC allows you to

  • grant web apps and websites access to a webcam or microphone on your computer
  • communicate directly with other users using peer to peer connections

Mozilla, Google, Opera and other companies are working on WebRTC making it a cross-browser technology. Once added to all modern browsers, it is theoretically possible to use WebRTC to communicate with users  who use a different web browser than you do, provided that it supports the technology.

Mozilla plans to add WebRTC support to Firefox 18, which as it stands will come out on January 8, 2013. A handful of mockups have been posted on this web page that demonstrate how menus and functionality could look like in the Firefox web browser.

The core benefit for the user and web developer is that third party software is not required to make use of the feature. So, if a certain browser is used web developers know that WebRTC is supported as well.

Even if WebRTC gets included in Firefox 18 it will take some time before you will encounter applications for it. While you may stumble upon some demonstrations or even live apps, it is almost certain that it will take years before it is more widely used.

Still, it is great to see Mozilla on the forefront here. (via Sören)


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  1. Kavan Seggie said on September 23, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    The biggest hurdle that WebRTC faces is agreement on codecs by the main browser vendors. Firefox want Opus (as an audio codec), Google want iSAC. IE want H264 (video), Google want VP8. Lets hope they can all agree on something.

    We recently wrote a blog post on this:

  2. kalmly said on September 16, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Ho hum.

  3. ilev said on September 16, 2012 at 8:56 am

    Cross-browser technology but not with IE.

    1. fokka said on September 16, 2012 at 10:19 am

      that would be sad (if someone would care)

  4. fokka said on September 16, 2012 at 12:49 am

    Would be great if that would make other services like icq, skype and facebook chat obsolete. One can dream…

    1. Julia said on September 16, 2012 at 7:46 am

      Oh YES!!!

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