Chris Kranky

Recent Posts

Now screen sharing – is anyone safe anymore?

Chris KoehnckeChris Koehncke

cisco-webexThe Chrome browser is fairly stealthy, silently it works to automatically upgrade itself, the user not even aware that it’s happened, no nag messages, you simply have the latest all the time. So there in Chrome 26, hidden away deep under the chrome://flags page, a place that only true geeks dare to go, was the option

Enable screen capture support in getUserMedia().

By innocently enabling this flag, you will have inadvertently set off a time bomb that will ultimately destroy what today is a multi-billion dollar business providing web collaboration.

At Google, it’s just another day, another destroyed industry, what’s for lunch?

At the first webRTCWorld event in San Francisco a participant had pointedly asked Google representatives when Chrome would support sharing the screen as a media device. The spokesperson mumbled and looked at their shoes. I immediately made a list of companies that needed to be shorted.

This flag needs to be enabled today, but clearly it will be enabled by default in one of the next releases. With that, a simple WebRTC session can easily share the screen using a standard WebRTC media channel. Some demo apps are sure to follow, they’ll be all toys at first, but HTML was a toy at first as well. Some kid in his dorm fueled on Redbull will create the next-next version of Webex, put it on an Amazon EC2 server for $8 a month, get $5m in VC funding and with that Cisco will be left muttering about how Flash is still really important.

Fast adoption of any technology has always been fueled by a “more for less” axiom. If you can do more for me for less than I’m currently paying, I’m gonna run to you. Netflix is a perfect example of that axiom in action.

WebRTC is setting a horrific stage that a number of communications services can be provided using nearly no infrastructure and lightweight coding requirements and thus will upset the trade balance for existing companies who likely have invested millions in developing highly specialized systems to provide these services. This is the nature of the entire technology industry, you’re quickly not a 21 year old hot blonde anymore but a 45 year old housewife driving a mini-van.

Customer acquisition remains a problem. Doesn’t matter how great you are if you’re the only one who knows it.  However, 100 new WebEX like entrants trying to pimp themselves for free or $4.99 will collectively create market noise that will be difficult to drown out. So if WebEX is the equivalent to Blockbuster Video, we all should be excited to see the Netflix of web collab come along (except perhaps for WebEx).

Try a demo of WebRTC screen sharing