Mozilla today launched the latest version of Firefox — that’s version 35 if you are still keeping track. Besides numerous minor updates, including support for MP4 video on OS X Snow Leopard, Firefox now features a simplified version of the free WebRTC-based Firefox Hello video chat service.
Just like before, you can start these plugin-free video chats by sharing an automatically generated link with whoever you want to talk to or by using the contacts from your Firefox account to start calls. Before, you had to sit and wait for your contact to join the room. Your contacts can be on Firefox, Chrome or Opera. Now, a small window with a self-view pops up and you can continue to surf the Web until your contact joins the call. It’s a small but welcome change for those who regularly use Firefox Hello.
Over time, Mozilla wants to expand this project to also include new features like screen sharing and online collaboration tools “so people can be more productive and get the most out of their video calls.” The organization is working with Telefonica’s TokBox and its OpenTok service on this project.
If you haven’t used Firefox Hello, it’s definitely worth a try. It’s also a clear sign that Mozilla wants to offer its users access to more tools than “just” a browser (but always with a focus on privacy).
Mozilla also used today’s launch to remind people of another tool it recently integrated into its browser: Firefox Share. This sharing tool launched in August 2013 and at the time, it was still rather limited. Since then, it has morphed into a pretty useful service for sharing links to social networking sites (though adding a “via @Firefox” tag to Twitter messages by default feels a big tacky).
You can find the full release notes here.