The latest beta versions of Chrome and Firefox can make high-definition video calls to one another, thanks to a joint effort by Mozilla and Google to support WebRTC interoperability.
Mozilla and Google made the joint announcements yesterday, while demonstrating a video call:
WebRTC is a plugin-free, real-time audio and video communication specification. The technology and specification are in the early stages of development, which means simply supporting the current version of the spec isn't enough to ensure interoperability. Extra work must be done.
"RTCPeerConnection (also known simply as PeerConnection or PC) interoperability means that developers can now create Firefox WebRTC applications that make direct audio/video calls to Chrome WebRTC applications without having to install a third-party plugin," Mozilla said. "Because the functionality is now baked into the browser, users can avoid problems with first-time installs and buggy plugins, and developers can deploy their apps much more easily and universally."
Google noted that, "thanks to the work and participation of the W3C and IETF communities in developing the platform, Chrome and Firefox can now communicate by using standard technologies such as the Opus and VP8 codecs for audio and video, DTLS-SRTP for encryption, and ICE for networking."
You can try Chrome/Firefox cross-browser calls yourself at the WebRTC demo site. You'll need the current beta version of Chrome and Firefox Nightly for Desktop.
If you're a developer looking to include cross-browser video talks in an application, Google pointed out a few sources of information: "You can look at the source code of the AppRTC demo, a library that makes writing cross-browser WebRTC apps a snap, and a document detailing some of the minor differences between browsers."
For now, this is Chrome- and Firefox-only. As we noted in previous articles, Microsoft is going its own way with a proposed spec called CU-RTC-Web.