Firefox Abandons WebRTC Service “Hello”

Posted On October 26, 2016 by Chip Wilcox in Blog, Ecosystem, Media, Unified Commmunications

This past September, Mozilla launched Firefox 49 for Windows, Mac, Linux and Android. While there were plenty of noteworthy additions to the latest version of Mozilla’s browser, one of the most intriguing changes to Firefox 49 involves a feature that was removed. Firefox abandons WebRTC Service “Hello”, the first WebRTC solution built directly into a browser.

Hello was built with OpenTok, TokBox’s WebRTC SDK. The service — which was abandoned after two years of experimentation — provided direct, browser to browser communication for Firefox users. Hello offered free voice and video chat between WebRTC-enabled endpoints.

There may be a number of reasons that Mozilla is saying goodbye to Hello. Mozilla remains an open source platform; sourcing to a single vendor may have generated a degree of backlash against the company. In addition, some are questioning whether the development of Mozilla’s communications service drew the ire of competitor Google, which has previously been a benefactor to Mozilla’s non-profit foundation.

The most likely cause of Hello’s demise, though, may be that the natural trajectory of WebRTC seems poised to circumvent browser choice entirely. Instead of being restricted to any particular brand of browser, businesses are instead enriching the communications experience by WebRTC-enabling their websites and mobile apps directly. Without being restricted to the use of only the Firefox browser, businesses can provide superior communications capabilities to a broader range of individuals without having to impose any browser limitations upon them.

Nonetheless, some WebRTC providers offer choices for users with a particular browser preference. Temasys, for instance, offers plugins for Safari and Internet Explorer, while also working natively in Chrome and Firefox. This provides the best of all current worlds for users to give them as much freedom and choice as possible.

So if you’re using this news to check the pulse of WebRTC, don’t make the mistake of thinking that Mozilla’s decision to remove Hello from its browser suggests a bleak future for WebRTC. It simply means that Hello was an introduction and proof of concept, and now that the concept has become a reality; it’s now ready for prime time.

Leveraging the service of a company like Temasys will provide all the benefits that Hello offered, without having to rely on a browser that can be updated or changed with little warning.

For more information about how Temasys can help, click here.

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