Last year, Google announced that Chrome browser plug-ins were going bye-bye. Now the company is leading by example by eliminating the plug-in needed for Hangouts. The new web client uses WebRTC and Chrome Native Client technologies.

hangouts baking

Chrome users running the Canary or Dev channel versions of the browser don’t need a plug-in installed for video calls in Hangouts. The previously announced change of ridding Chrome’s plug-ins is live for those channels with both the Beta and Stable channels likely to follow soon. Google’s Chrome Stable version typically gets updated on a six-weeks cycle so it shouldn’t be long before all Chrome and Chrome OS users are rid of the old, downloadable plug-in needed for Hangouts.

The new Hangouts works with “WebRTC and some NaCl technologies”, noted Google’s Victoria Kurst in a Google+ post announcing the change. WebRTC stands for Web Real-Time Communications while NaCl means Native Client, a way for complied applications to run within a browser. We discussed this development, as well as other topics such as using a Raspberry Pi as a Google Cloud Print Server, on this week’s Chrome Show podcast. Tune in below or download the show here.

  1. Well, Native Client are still plugins just available on Chrome.
    – IE has ActiveX
    – Firefox has NPAPI
    – Chrome has Native Client

    So yea, it is still a plugin.

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    1. Where do I download Native Client in Chrome? ;)

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      1. Presumably, I need to download the “compiled application” that runs in the browser, not the Native Client itself?

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        1. Nope, at least not directly. Per Google: “You’ll now be able to launch Hangouts in Chrome without having to download and install a plugin. Just click to start the Hangout, allow Hangouts to use your camera and microphone, and you’ll be good to go!”

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        2. Maybe Kevin should have pointed you to this (i found it via google ;) )


          “WebRTC is a free, open project that enables web browsers with Real-Time Communications (RTC) capabilities via simple JavaScript APIs.”

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    2. No. Not the same. I’ve developed ActiveX plugins. Related? Sure.

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  2. Friend , an article like this deserves a video podcast from the chrome show .

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  3. Dan Villiom Podlaski Christiansen Monday, July 7, 2014

    Native Client may not be a plugin, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. For starters, it’s non-standard and doesn’t work in other browsers. Like Dart, it’s a good example of Google “fixing” the web with little or no consideration for other browsers.

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    1. non standard? Google WebRTC is completely standard and Opera and FF support it too. Its just non standard IE that doesnt support it.

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    2. The good news is that the browser works on all main OS’s. IE doesn’t.

      Dart … actually will run in IE and etc. You just need to convert to JS. That is not abnormal in today’s Web world (or native mobile world for that matter). The advantage of Dart is that you don’t write JS (or debug JS or cuss JS or …).

      So, Google, with Dart DID consider the poor people stuck on IE. ;)

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