Mozilla has recently launched a slew of updates for its Firefox browser: built-in video chat using WebRTC, improved search bar, Chromecast tab mirroring from Android, and a few more. But the biggest addition, undoubtedly, is Firefox Hello, a new Web, Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) based voice and video calling feature that’s built right into the Firefox browser. Firefox Hello will allow users to make free voice and video calls directly from their Firefox browser without having to download additional software or plugins, or go through the hassles of account creation.
Entering the Instant Video Market
Developed through a partnership with the Spanish carrier group, Telefónica, which owns the WebRTC specialist TokBox, Firefox Hello is currently in its beta stage. With regards to the partnership, Ian Small, Telefónica’s head of communication services, said, “Mozilla obviously has a browser that’s used by more than 300 million people around the world, we have a state-of-the-art WebRTC infrastructure which has been built by TokBox, and together we believe there’s an opportunity to start to shift the nature of the web and what people think about what a browser is, by combining those two pieces.”
This might be Mozilla’s first big step into the video landscape, but Firefox Hello is being seen as a promising contender against big players like Microsoft’s Skype and Google’s Hangouts.
Skype created a stir with its WebRTC enabled web version, promising plugin-free voice and video communication through log-in on its Skype for Web portal, Skype.com. However, Firefox has gone one step further by eliminating the need for log-in. With this feature, Firefox might re-define instant video.
Easy-to-use Features and a Simple Interface
Using Firefox Hello will be as simple as a click on the chat bubble icon inside the customized menu. You will be able to connect with anyone who has a WebRTC-enabled browser by sharing the generated call back link. To call you, users on the other side will need to have Firefox 34.
Using this service doesn’t require a separate account. Firefox Hello allows you to sign in with your Firefox Account to call or receive direct calls from other online Firefox Account users, without needing to share a call back link first. In addition, you can initiate and receive calls on every computer that you’re signed into.
It’s easy to manage your contacts on Firefox Hello. You can either manually add contacts to your address book or import contacts from your Google account. With a clean and simple interface, Mozilla seems to be on the right track to making no-frills video communication instant, and easy.
While Mozilla’s move into the instant video arena is definitely one of the biggest shake-ups for the browser, how well it performs in the web-based video market is something that is yet to be seen.
Do you think Firefox Hello has what it takes to become the best web-based voice and video communication platform on the market?