Chris Kranky

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WebRTC: Is Google’s real mission to slay Skype?

Chris KoehnckeChris Koehncke

40819-23With no common signaling standard, different WebRTC applications have no possibility of talking to each other. There is such a tight interlink between the client software, the server and the remote end that absolute synchronization is required. By default, a WebRTC application is a self-contained island.

Skype is an island too, it just you, me and 50 million other concurrent users, similar to WebRTC, Skype has utter control over the entire experience. Anyone who wants to compete with Skype is going to have to convince me to use their client. It’s a tough sell. With WebRTC, you’re only as far away from me as clicking a hyperlink I provided to you, no client to download or fussy plug-in to install. Sounds great and should spark some new competitors for Skype.

But hang on a sec. If you’re like me, before I call someone on Skype, I first check to see if they’re ONLINE. No point in calling if they’re not even there. Next, I’ll usually send a chat message, “You gotta second to speak about XYZ“, I’ll ask. This entire communications transaction is the same familiar interface I can use with any of my Skype contacts. No learning or downloading required.

Missing from WebRTC are the simple notions of active status and quick chatting. At least without using that application’s WebRTC ‘page’. In all the WebRTC chatter, I’ve not heard beep yet about WebRTC and XMPP.  For voice connectivity  a few VoIP’ers are complaining about the lack of SIP (which would at least provide some base level voice federation, perhaps, but I’ll save that for another discussion though).

So I started thinking, if there was some WebRTC application that already had a bizllion users, a web window that many of us would have open nearly all the time, a window that already incorporated presence & chat and maybe some other time worn critical communications elements  with the added benefits of a WebRTC capability- now that could likely challenge Skype pretty quickly.

I awoke from my dream in a cold sweat. OMG Google is using all us to kill Microsoft and further the Gmail franchise, no wonder Microsoft don’t wanna play along with the WebRTC dream.