Firefox has taken one more step toward full WebRTC compatibility by having the protocol activated by default in its most recent Nightly release. WebRTC had been available in previous Firefox Nightly releases, but only as an option. Having it enabled by default means it will eventually make its way into a stable release.
In the official announcement, Paul Rouget and Rober Nyman of Mozilla called this a "huge step forward."
Implementing the WebRTC protocol means enabling plugin-free real-time video, audio and text chat capabilities within Firefox. Mozilla first demonstrated WebRTC within Firefox back in December at the WebRTC Conference and Expo, co-hosted by TMC, Systemwide Media and PKE Consulting. Not only was Firefox capable of real-time video conferencing, it also boasted file transfer capabilities over WebRTC thanks to the Datachannels API.
Google's Chrome browser, meanwhile, has supported WebRTC fully since version 23, which was released in November.
Also enabled by default in the Firefox Nightly channel is H.264 and MP3 support. However, as the decoding of these formats relies on the operating system used, it is only available on Windows 7 or above, with Linux and Mac support to be implemented down the line.
Furthermore, Mozilla included Firefox's new Windows 8-style interface in the latest Nightly, providing users of Windows' latest OS with a more familiar, and a more seamless, way to get around the Web.
Lastly, Mozilla announced a new WebGL demo alongside its latest Firefox Nightly release. Developed by Anthony Liot of ACTISKU, a developer of 3D real-time marketing solutions, this demo demonstrates the power that modern browsers have without the use of plugins.
The most recent stable release of Firefox, version 19, was also made available this week, bringing plugin-free HTML5-based PDF reading capabilities. The result of the PDF.js research project, this new PDF viewer enables Firefox to render PDF files quickly and seamlessly.
Edited by Brooke Neuman