Google is now implementing its open-source audio and video chat software into the Chrome browser, enabling users to chat in real-time without having to load up a secondary client like Skype. Called WebRTC, the software was originally introduced back in May and originated from Google's 2010 acquisition of Internet telephony and videoconferencing specialist Global IP Solutions (GIPS).
Google's new WebRTC uses two audio codecs obtained through the GIPS acquisition including iSAC for high-bandwidth connections and iLBC for narrow bandwidth connections. For the video portion, Google has thrown in its open-source VP8 codec which was also previously obtained from another acquisition. By releasing the tech as a complete open-source package, Google is looking to expand is audio/video capabilities beyond Gmail, to become a web standard for real-time communications. That means other browsers like Firefox and Opera will have access to WebRTC as well.
So what does this mean for Skype? As CNET points out, if Google and its allies succeed in making WebRTC a standard that's supported by other browsers, then website and/or web-application builders could integrate the technology, thus easily creating a rival service with just a Web application. Browsers also wouldn't need a proprietary plug-in like the one Google uses for its VoIP service within Gmail.
"We’ve collectively engaged with the standards communities such as IETF and W3C working groups to define and implement a set of standards for real time communications," Liebenberg and Linden said. " We expect more innovations in the coming months by various community members and we will continue to develop key technologies and features that enable open, real time communications on the web."
This should prove interesting to say the least. We also bet this tech will eventually find its way into Google TV.