Chrome users will soon be able to access Google Talk and Google+ Hangouts video chats through a native, open-source implementation based on the WebRTC protocol, as opposed to the proprietary plugin that’s currently bundled with the browser.
This change also means Hangouts and Google Talk will be replacing the H.264 video codec with Google’s open-source WebM video format.
Google has been using proprietary technology licensed from Vidyo to facilitate voice and video chat within Google Talk as well as Google+ Hangouts until now. However, work has been underway for a while to replace the plugin with an open-source implementation based on WebRTC, a framework for real-time voice and video communications that Google open-sourced in May.
Now it looks like this work will soon pay off: WebRTC Group Product Manager Serge Lachapelle wrote Tuesday morning that his team is “heads down” working on Webkit patches to bring a WebRTC enabled version of Chrome to the public. He added: “You’ll notice the brilliant work by Ericsson, whom have [sic] been helping out a ton in driving this.”
The WebRTC group also recently announced its work to the wider Webkit developer community. The exact timing of the Chrome release with WebRTC is unclear, but Lachapelle hinted at more upcoming news in his post:
“Hopefully our next post will be soon, and will include a more useful URL :)”