Firefox Hello, the WebRTC-based video-calling feature that Mozilla and partner Telefónica revealed as a beta feature in October, hit the mainstream — sort of — with the full release of Firefox 34 earlier this week.
It’s still very much under development though, being currently tucked away under the “customize” section in the browser’s settings menu. And, as of Thursday, those who download the beta of Firefox 35 can test out a few improvements.
The big changes are in the account-less call mode, which is moving towards a [company]Google[/company] Hangouts-style room model. When you initiate a call – something that’s done by sending a link to the person you want to talk to – Firefox Hello will now show you your own camera feed before your partner joins the call. The call begins as soon as the person you’ve called joins the conversation, whereas before they would have had to initiate a callback which you would have had to answer.
Users will also now be able to create and name multiple conversations for people they regularly want to talk to, again without needing to create an account or sign in. Not only is this URL-based approach anonymous (theoretically at least), but it also makes it easy to set up chats with users of other WebRTC-toting browsers, such as Chrome and Opera.
Those who do set up Firefox Hello accounts can of course make more traditional direct calls, which don’t involve passing on URLs as a setup mechanism.
Mozilla and Telefónica are very much looking for feedback on all this, so if you try it out, be sure to give them your opinion on the changes they’re making.