WebRTC Expert Feature

September 25, 2013

Does Mozilla's Support of WebRTC Feel Robotic?

The recently released 24th iteration of Mozilla’s Firefox for Android mobile browser includes support for WebRTC - however the website plays this down and instead emphasizes speed, general features, and the product’s ability to sync with the Chrome desktop.

Currently, there is no app that highlights WebRTC use, which really is a shame – since see it is to believe it…and believe in it. Telling developers that the browser supports WebRTC and then relying on an app store to make the case…well, that is akin to sending out a Save the Date card (which is as good an opportunity as any to plug WebRTC World, which is set for November 19-21 in Santa Clara, Calif.). 

Of course, I recognize that Google and Mozilla are both trying to strike the delicate balance of enabling a developer community while not crushing it with their own (though Mozilla does, on occasion, make the nobler effort of pushing privacy). I do think, though, that it would have been good to do something with the data channel to help inspire creativity. Perhaps some silly application that tells my desktop when my phone is fully charged? Or maybe an “E.T., phone home” kind of app for when the family arrives back home (provided there is such a thing as a family desktop). Or how about putting the camera remote to use when you leave your laptop open at an airport, as a kind of a video surveillance?

I think my frustration in some ways is based on a combination of developers doing similar things and app stores being unable to better highlight interesting apps. For that reason, I am optimistic about this new directory: http://www.webrtcworld.com/webrtc-list.aspx, within which I hope to see a list of available categories that is almost as extensive as the companies themselves.

In the past, I have offered suggestions to several of our exhibitors regarding little things they can add to make the deployment and use of their solutions more entertaining. And here are two more. 

A flirting app. Imagine a video conferencing participant being able to hide their face – you know, like they do on reality-based crime shows, or maybe via the use of a virtual mask – and as they flirt they could choose to expose more of their face if they like the conversation (and inversely, if the conversation is not going so well, add to the mask). And another aspect of this could be the use of a pseudo ID, that way there is no reason to give out real names, E-mails, numbers etc. until the participant is comfortable doing so.

Real-time translation. For use in conjunction with speech recognition, made perhaps even more interesting by the capability of displaying translated text on the data channel side.

The importance of differentiation should – nay, must – be honored with great marketing. Take advantage of the directory, and as you do, I will be happy to highlight your company (and thus, highlight innovation).

Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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