Future Versions of Firefox Could Feature Built-In Video Chat

For a while now, Mozilla has been looking beyond the core browser features to expand Firefox’s capabilities. Last week, the Firefox team showed an interesting new demo at the IETF 83 meeting in Paris. In this demo, the Firefox team shows a new browser-based video chat feature for Firefox that is completely based on JavaScript and other open standards. The most important of these standards for this demo is WebRTC. With WebRTC – which is part of the developing HTML5 standard – developers can enable real-time services, including file sharing, voice calls and video calls right in the browser.

This demo also makes use of the organization’s experimental Social API, which sits on top of Mozilla’s Persona browser-based identity service.

A partial implementation of WebRTC will only come to Firefox’s experimental nightly builds later this quarter, so it will be a while before you will be able to use these features yourself (though there are, of course, already plenty of Flash-based video chat tools out there).

Just like HTML5, the WebRTC standard is still under heavy development. It’s worth noting, though, that all the major browser vendors (Mozilla, Microsoft, Google and Opera) have voiced support for this technology and the Chrome Dev channel, for example, already offers a WebRTC API.

For now, this is obviously just a demo and it’s not clear if Mozilla will actually bake this feature directly into Firefox. Given that Mozilla has shown interest in adding all the underlying technologies to the browser, though, it wouldn’t come as a major surprise if it would at least offer its own video chat feature as part of the Persona initiative.